Authorities identify man's body found in burnt downtown home

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The coroner's office has identified a man whose body was found in a downtown home following a fire Monday morning.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office says the man has been identified as 49-year-old Robert Nelson of Charleston. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Fire crews with the City of Charleston battled a structure fire early Monday morning on Poinsett Street that completely destroyed a home that was thought to be vacant. Charleston Fire Department officials confirmed just before 11 a.m. that one person was killed in the fire.

Fire officials say Monday's fire is not connected to the recent string of arson fires on the peninsula.

Monday's fire started around 5:15 a.m. near the intersection of King Street. A two-story home collapsed.

"Crews arrived to find a large two-story wood framed home fully engulfed," said chief deputy John Tippet. "They had power line issues. A power line had burned off the house and dropped to the street."

Officials say the house was boarded up so there was no indication anybody was inside. Firefighters went into defensive operations to fight the blaze right away. Hours after the fire was put out, a body was found in the home.

"I looked outside my window and I saw flames about 30-feet high," said Rocco Pasquarello who witnessed the fire and called 911. "The whole house was engulfed in flames and I looked around there was no fire engines and I realized I was probably the first one to see it. I called 911 and as soon as I came downstairs as soon as I came downstairs the fire engines came."

It took firefighters nearly 30 minutes to contain the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

King Street was closed temporarily while officials investigated the fire.

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