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Man, 65, killed in New Bedford house fire

A 65-year-old man was killed early Monday when fire ripped through his New Bedford home, fire officials said.

New Bedford firefighters were called to 104-106 Hemlock Street at 4:50 a.m. Monday for a report of a fire, Acting Chief Scott Kruger said. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered fire on the second floor of the three-story wood-frame building. Almost all of the building’s occupants had self-evacuated due to working smoke alarms, he said.

Residents reported that a man was trapped inside the building, and crews conducted a search, Kruger said. Entry into the apartment proved difficult due to storage that blocked both the front and back doors. Firefighters were only able to get the front door open about a foot, Kruger said.

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The storage “hampered our efforts to get in there, to get him out,” he said.

“Excessive clutter can present a fire hazard and in some cases may be a sign that a friend or loved one is struggling with other issues,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey in a statement.

The fire was “really starting to burn through the door,” and crews were able to find Daniel Dupont. He was then taken to an area hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Kruger said.

“Not much margin for error there,” he said. “It’s awful.”

The bulk of the fire was contained to the one unit, Kruger said. He estimated damage to the building exceeded $75,000.

The cause of the fire was accidental, he said, and the blaze appears to have started in the center of the unit. Investigators with the state fire marshal’s office were unable to rule out a number of potential causes, including careless disposal of smoking materials, according to a statement.

Eight adults and four children were displaced, Kruger said.

A fire in the town earlier this year killed two residents, the Globe reported.

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Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.