Sheriff: Hoarder dead for 'days' before fire burned home down
PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) - Investigators believe a man was dead for days before his Pontiac home caught fire Wednesday.
The fire happened on W. Huron Street according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. The man was found during a sweep of the house once firefighters got inside.
According to fire officials, the flames spread quickly because the home was full of personal belongings.
The early morning house fire brought neighbors like Lawanna out to see what was happening.
"I was sitting having an Amaretto and coffee. They always have a fire back there, and then I saw it smoking," Lawanna said.
When the fire department arrived, they put out the flames and walked through the house. That's when they found the man's body inside. We're told the body had been there, dead, for days before the fire.
"Investigation reveals that he had been dead for about a week," Oakland County Sheriff Major Robert Smith said.
The man was identified as 69-year-old Dale Evans Gladwin. He lived in the home alone and Lawanna said he was a 'lovely' individual but some neighbors say he was a hoarder. They said he all kinds of stuff inside the home that contributed to the fire.
"The house is in a bad state and that's certainly going to be taken into consideration," Smith said.
Police say there's no sign of trauma and there's no criminal activity involved. An autopsy was done Wednesday morning which should determine the exact cause of death. Officials speculate that it might've been a wood-burning stove that started the fire.
"You can walk by the house and see that there's all kinds of stuff piled up in the windows. Maybe something like that, maybe something electrical from some of the clutter and stuff," neighbor Allysa Rader said.
The family was busy Wednesday cleaning up the house, and remembering their loved one.