Body of Willimantic fire victim located in destroyed home

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WILLIMANTIC -- Firefighters located the body of a man in a home that was destroyed by a fire on Monday.

Fire officials said the body of the man was recovered Tuesday morning, more than 24 hours after the fire started in a Manners Avenue home. Authorities had been saying one person was unaccounted for until it became public today that a body had been discovered in the rubble.

The State Medical Examiner's Office is expected announce the cause of death and to identify the body soon, after his or her next of kin is notified. However, neighbors said only one person lived in the house, and records identify the homeowner as Robert O'Donnell, 53.

"According to the scuttlebutt, he was going to lose his house because he hasn't worked much in the last few years," neighbor Ed Trudeau said.  "He's been sick, and the bank foreclosed."

Fire crews arrived at about 5:30 a.m. Monday morning to a ranch style house engulfed in flames. The roof of the single family home collapsed and firefighters from Willimantic and three other surrounding towns had their work cut out for them, but they weren't able to enter due to the danger.

Officials said the house is a total loss and it took them hours before they could even get inside of it.

The state and local fire marshal are continuing to investigate the fire.