The fire broke out around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday on the 4300 block of Bennington Street.
When firefighters arrived, they were met with heavy smoke on the second floor of the rowhome.
"Someone came by, seen the smoke and started kicking in the door," said neighbor Gerald Bollendorf. "The smoke was just too bad, the fireman said they found him by the door."
The fire was placed under control in about 15 minutes. Firefighters found the victim in a secondary search of the building.
His name has not been released.
"This is always tragic for us. Our firefighters always approach fires aggressively, make that interior attack. On our secondary search, they were able to find this occupant," Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.
Neighbors say the victim lived in the home alone and was very active in the community. They think he may have had trouble leaving the home quickly.
"It really hurt to know that he passed away. I came outside last night like running out here trying to knock on the neighbor's doors because we were terrified that someone was home," said Valerie Diaz. "We were just waiting to see if he came out of the house, to see if he was OK, and then we were waiting and waiting and after a long wait, we kind of knew it was too late, and a fire fighter came out and shook his head."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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