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Severe Fatal Fire Under Investigation

The victim has not yet been identified.

The cause of the fatal fire on King Street early Monday remains under investigation and a local family is mourning after an intense blaze that awoke neighbors with what sounded like an explosion.

Firefighters got the first call at 3:13 a.m. and arrived to find a fully involved fire. 

The victim has not yet been identified by investigators, who said the cause of the fire is difficult to determine because the entire house was destroyed.

And police don't expect to release the victim's name until tomorrow because the state Medical Examiner must perform an autopsy to confirm the man's identity, said North Kingstown Police Chief Thomas Mulligan.

"We've reached out to the family and provided them with what we know," Mulligan said, noting that in all likelihood it is the property owner but there is always a possibility someone else was inside the house until official confirmation is made.

A neighbor told the Providence Journal that the fire was so intense, it lit up the area as if it were daytime. He said he tried to see if he could help but the fire was too powerful.

On Monday afternoon, crews worked to clean up the site and erect a fence to guard the property, the remnants of the house and its contents reduced to charred rubble.

Neighbors said the man kept to himself but was friendly. His property included several older model vehicles, including a FedEx truck, all of which were damaged either by the severe fire or heat. 

Mulligan said the fire went up quickly in part because of its age, having originally been built in 1890. 

"Given the type of structure, an old home like that — it doesn't take much and it goes up fast," Mulligan said.

Firefighters were also hampered by an "accumulation of stuff" inside the house, Mulligan said.

This story has been updated.

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