A 71-year-old man was killed during an early morning fire at a Samson Avenue apartment, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan confirmed Friday.
Eighteen firefighters responded to the 956 Samson Avenue duplex shortly after 3 a.m. By the time they arrived, Bobby Shabazz was dead, Bryan said. He has been transported to the GBI crime lab for autopsy.
The bed-ridden victim resided on the bottom floor of the apartment building. His body was so badly burned that investigators had difficulty identifying the body, Columbus Police Lt. Greg Touchberry said Friday morning. Bryan later verified the man's identity through family members.
At about 10:30 a.m., Columbus Fire Department fire investigators and police officials were sifting through the scene for clues indicating the fire's cause. Investigators declined to say whether the fire was accidental or intentional.
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Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said two individuals resided in the apartment above Shabazz's. Neither were injured. Those occupants are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross, he said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.