Littlestown man, 68, found dead after house fire

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A 68-year-old man was found dead after fire swept through his Littlestown home shortly after midnight.

Authorities have identified the victim as Joe Johnson.

Police said a borough officer was on patrol when he smelled smoke in the 100 block of Charles Street and saw flames coming from the first floor of Johnson's home.

Neighbors told the officer the homeowner slept on the second floor and was apparently home because his car was parked outside, police said, but the flames apparently were too intense for the officer to rescue Johnson.

Once firefighters were able to get inside the home, they found Johnson near a staircase outside of his bedroom. They said it appeared he was trying to get out of the home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is believed the fire started in the basement or on the first floor. Authorities said Johnson was known to hold onto things and said the debris in the home likely kept the fire going.

“The difficulty we had was the gentleman was commonly known as a hoarder,” Alpha Fire Company Chief Scott Small said. “There was a lot of debris everywhere. It made it hard to maneuver. It made search and rescue a little more difficult because of the debris.”

Officials said there was no evidence of foul play. A fire marshal is investigating.

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