Police are investigating the death of a man whose body was pulled from a unit fire at East Maitland.
The 53-year-old man’s body and the remains of two dogs were found inside the two-storey unit on Thompson Street, which caught alight about 2am Saturday.
The property remained cordoned off on Sunday as residents came to grips with the blaze’s fatal consequences, telling of their sadness and powerlessness after raising the alarm.
One neighbour said they heard windows breaking and went outside to see flames coming from a downstairs room.
They called triple-0 while another neighbour ran to the property to try and save the man, but the door was too hot to open.
The neighbour said an emergency operator then called back to ask if an ambulance was needed.
“I said ‘yes, someone’s inside’,” the neighbour said. “They said ‘make sure no one tries to go in’.”
Police, fire and ambulance crews responded to the call while residents watched on helplessly as the fire spread through the home.
Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze, but the man had died before emergency services could get to him.
The neighbour said on Sunday they hadn’t slept much since the incident.
“It’s sad – the fact you knew he was in there and you couldn’t do anything to help.
“It felt like it took forever waiting for them to get here.”
Police said inquiries into the fire continue, however the blaze did not appear to be suspicious.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
The incident comes just a few months after a neighbouring unit was also severely damaged in a separate fire.
Any information that may assist police with their inquiries should be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.