Man found dead at scene of Taunton fire; 8 residents displaced

Robert Botellio (Photo courtesy of Kristie Podolske)

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway in Taunton after a man was found dead at the scene of a serious fire on Washington Street.

Flames could be seen pouring out of the upper floors of the multi-family home after the fire started around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Taunton Fire Chief Timothy Bradshaw said a crew from Brewster Ambulance was the first to arrive on scene and helped get the residents out safely after kicking down the door. It was this crew of EMT’s who discovered the victim on the third floor.

He was identified Wednesday by the Bristol County DA’s office as Robert A. Botellio, 54.

Botellio was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Bradshaw.

“He’s a been a family friend of ours since I had my children. He thinks of me as his daughter,” Kristie Podolske said. “I wasn’t there and I couldn’t help him, and it was horrible.”

“I opened the door and there’s just smoke and flames everywhere,” recalled Ashley Charest, who lived inside the building. “I called his name and I couldn’t hear him, and I just ran in to grab my family, my mom, my dog and I just ran, started banging, trying to get everyone out.”

Six other adults and two children were able to evacuate the home safely. They’re now being assisted by the Red Cross.

Officials said firefighters were able to quickly respond to the scene and get the fire under control, but the home sustained serious damage.

It’s believed the fire originated on the third floor of the home. Investigators are now working to determine what caused the fire and how Botellio died.

It was a similar scene Friday just down the street at 217 Washington St., where a smoky fire forced residents from the six-family home.

“I was choking on smoke,” Neil Kingsbury said. “I opened up the bedroom door and you couldn’t even see.”

Kingsbury was in disbelief to learn another fire broke out just days later on the same street.

Firefighters said it doesn’t appear the two fires are linked in any way.