86-year-old Anthony DeFino served for 19 years as a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge.
He was a father, grandfather and mentor in Philadelphia's political and legal circles.
The fire that claimed his life broke out at 7:00 p.m. Sunday on the 2500 block of South 20th Street.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames coming from the 2nd and 3rd floors of the twin home.
The blaze was "brought under control in 30 minutes," said a Philadelphia Fire Department official at the scene. "But as a result, unfortunately, is the death of one adult male on the first floor."
DeFino retired from Common Pleas Court in 2007.
One of his mentees, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, arrived Sunday night with his daughters to pay his respects to the family.
On the doorstep of a nearby home, dozens of friends and family waited for the victim's body to be removed from the home.
Fire officials said a woman was also inside the home when the fire broke out but was able to escape.
Investigators are still working to determine what sparked the blaze.