Two elderly men, one of them a prominent Massachusetts real estate developer, died in an overnight house fire in Milton Monday.
The Norfolk district attorney's office said 91-year-old Kenneth Guscott and 87-year-old Leroy Whitmore died in the blaze reported at about 12:30 a.m. Monday. They both lived in the home.
The fire was caused by an oil-filled space heater that overloaded an electrical cord, according to the state fire marshal's office.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Guscott was a true leader who helped transform Boston's Roxbury neighborhood and its Dudley Square. Guscott was also a World War II veteran and former NAACP chapter president.
"Ken served Boston and its people in so many ways — as a veteran, an advocate and a lifelong builder of the city. His vision for Dudley Square and the transformation of Roxbury was bright and vibrant, and he pushed every day to create jobs, support business development and bring greater opportunity to the neighborhood," Walsh said. "Boston has lost a true leader, and we will continue to work together to bring progress to all our neighborhoods in his memory."
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker echoed Walsh's praise of Guscott's work in Boston.
"For decades, Ken was a major force in Boston real estate & responsible for some truly transformative community development," he said on Twitter. "He'll be missed."
Milton Fire Chief John Grant says the first firefighters who arrived at the scene found two people outside who told them that two people were still trapped inside. Rescuers tried to reach the victims trapped on the second floor but were beaten back by smoke and intense heat.