Buncombe County man dies after storage shed he was living in catches fire

Authorities say one person was killed in a fire in Buncombe County on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Firefighters pulled the body of a man out of a storage shed, where he was living, after it caught fire Wednesday.

It happened off Grand Kids Drive in Buncombe County about 1 p.m.

"My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have checked on him a couple times," neighbor Lisa West said.

West said she was familiar with the man, who lived in the shed.

"Nothing other than waving on the road,” West said. "He didn't seem harmful to people."

Neighbors were concerned, West said, with individuals living in sheds in the neighborhood.

"The county came down, one time. We had been after them, because people really don't need to be living in a shed,” West said.

According to West, Buncombe County government staff members visited the property in early summer 2017.

"We didn't see him for a long time after that and then he started coming back around, I guess, late fall," West said

Several months later, West said, she watched as smoke billowed from the shed.

"Just hoping that that man that stayed in that shed wasn't in there,” West said. "It was just really, really smoky."

West Buncombe Volunteer Fire Department Chief Randy Ratcliff said firefighters had obstacles of furniture and smoke inside the shed.

"They'd done an initial search, didn't find anybody. Once we got the fire knocked down, called it contained, then they went back in and done a secondary search and that's whenever they found the victim,” Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff said firefighters were able to notify some of the man's family Wednesday afternoon.

"You don't ever expect the place next door to catch on fire and you're standing there looking at it," West said. "It's just sad that, you know, people can be so bad off that their only choice is to live in a shed."

As of Wednesday evening, the name of the man was not being released and the cause of the fire was still under investigation.

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