BOARDMAN TWP, Ohio (WKBN) – A 37-year-old man is dead in an early morning house fire in Boardman Township.
A neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, she she can’t understand it.
“i don’t know what happened over there, I really don’t. I’m surprised that Andy didn’t get out,” she said.
The neighbor said the victim was Andrew Gallagher, who owned the home that caught fire in the 5700 block of Border Ave., near Meadowbrook Avenue in Boardman. Although authorities have not made a formal identification, the neighbor said she watched as a body she thinks was Gallagher’s was removed from the burned-out home before dawn Wednesday morning.
Firefighters were called to the home just after 4 a.m. Boardman police said the fire started on the first floor, and the victim was found upstairs in a bathroom.
Boardman Fire Chief Mark Pitzer said fighting the fire proved difficult.
“Upon arrival, our first arriving companies noted heavy fire involvement throughout the structure,” he said. “We were unable to gain entry into that house.”
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate, and officials have not determined the cause of the fire.
“At this point, I mean, there was so much fire damage on the inside. It’s going to take a little bit of time to determine that cause,” Pitzer said.
WKBN has learned Gallagher was arrested four years ago after police said he broke into a car, doused it with gasoline and tried to set it on fire. It is unknown whether Wednesday’s fire was intentionally set.
A neighbor described Gallagher as someone who kept to himself.
“He didn’t have a car, and we just talked about the grass and things like that, and nothing really important ’cause he was a very quiet person,” the neighbor said.
An autopsy is expected Thursday to show just how the victim died.