(NECN: Mike Cronin) - Tragedy struck the rural town of Brimfield, Mass. on Christmas. The state fire marshall's office believes the man living in a home on Hollow Road died in a fire.
“Jimmy was a very, very nice guy. He was very polite,” said Leo Gelineau, a friend of the victim.
Authorities haven't identified the deceased, but friends say it was Jimmy Killian. They say he lived alone in that house. Leo Gelineau knew him for 40 years.
“Jimmy and I went on vacation down in Daytona Beach, Florida and all that and we had a lot of good times when I worked with him in construction,” Gelineau said.
Firefighters responded to the home at 12:30 Wednesday morning.
Ii suspect it had been burning for a fair amount of time,” said Fred Piechota, the Brimfield Fire Chief.
Piechota says they tried to enter the home, but the intensity of the flames drove them out.
“We pulled all of our personnel back out of the building because of the potential for a collapse and we did have a partial 2nd floor collapse,” Piechota continued.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The state fire marshall's office says the blaze started in the first floor living room.
Piechota says there were no working smoke detectors in the home. He says a detector could've saved this man's life.
“People should really have working smoke detectors in all of their places of residence,” Piechota added.
Meanwhile, Gelineau says the tragedy is felt by many throughout Brimfield. He says Killian kept to himself, but was one of the nicest people in town.
“The Killian family is one of the best families in this whole complete town of Brimfield. You couldn't get a better family than all the Killians,” Gelineau concluded.