Man, 54, killed in Taunton fire at multifamily home
He was known as "Uncle Bob" to the children that lived in the three-family home -- even though they weren’t related.
The district attorney said third-floor resident Robert Botellio, 54, succumbed to injuries sustained in an overnight fire on Washington Street in Taunton.
“I ran out in the hallway, and I opened the door, and there was just smoke and flames everywhere," said second-floor resident Ashley Charest. "I called (Bob's) name and I couldn’t hear him and I ran in to just grab my family -- my mom, my dog -- and I just started banging to get everybody out.”
Charest's sister, Kristie Podolske, and her kids lived on the first floor. Botellio was not related, but the women said they loved him like family.
“Nobody would let anybody in there to help," Podolske told NBC 10 News. "They said they’d take care of it, but we never saw anybody come out.”
“He’s a really nice guy, he works hard," added Charest. "We’re all just like one really big family here, so it’s really sad that we lost everything.”
As crews continued to work throughout the day Wednesday, residents of the neighborhood recalled the scene overnight.
“(The fire) was seven or 10 feet. It was up to the trees over there,” John DeMedeiros, who lives across the street, said.
First responders told NBC 10 that the fire began on the third floor.
Charest said she heard some banging that she described as sounding like pots and pans falling around during the time the fire started.
Now, the charred frame of the home and the memory of "Uncle Bob" are all that remain.
“He was a funny guy. Very funny. Very loud," said Charest. "I would just say he’s a nice, fun, outgoing guy. He was really nice.”
Investigators are still working to determine a cause of the fire, while the Red Cross is helping displaced tenants.