MILTON (CBS) – Two elderly men, one of them a well-known developer, were killed in a fire overnight in Milton.
Flames broke out around 12:30 a.m. in a second floor bedroom of a house on Elias Lane.
Fire Chief Jack Grant said a man and a woman were able to get out of the home on their own, but firefighters were stopped upstairs by the intense heat and the two men trapped upstairs died.
They were later identified as Kenneth Guscott, 91, and Leroy Whitmore, 87.
“The whole second floor was charged with smoke. We did have two people out of the house that let us know there were people upstairs. So, everybody was attempting to make rescue. The heat from the room of origin drove them back. They had to get a line and make re-entry,” Milton Fire Chief Jack Grant said.
Guscott was a prominent developer who had done work in Dudley Square in Roxbury. He was also the former president of the local chapter of the NAACP.
Guscott’s wife and another relative escaped the fire safely.
Neighbor Faisal Khan spoke to Guscott’s wife this morning about her loss.
“She was devastated,” Khan said. “All she said was, ‘I can’t believe that both my boys are gone,’ one being her husband and the other being her father, both at the same time. So you can just imagine her sense of loss.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement saying he was “shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Ken Guscott.”
“Ken served Boston and its people in so many ways – as a veteran, an advocate and a lifelong builder of a better city. His vision for Dudley Square and the transformation of Roxbury was bright and vibrant, and he pushed every day to create jobs, support business development and bring greater opportunity to the neighborhood. Boston has lost a true leader, and we will continue to work together to bring progress to all our neighborhoods in his memory.”
A friend of Guscott talked about the loss.
“It’s really a tragedy, that he’s worked all his life, this is how it ends. His father-in-law dies with him,” Clayton Turnball said.
“This is a family that will impact this city, has impacted this city in the past and will impact this city for years to come. But he was a great leader,” Turnball added.
Two firefighters were treated for minor injuries.
“While the investigation into the origin and cause is ongoing, the fire appears accidental in nature,” Jennifer Mieth, the spokeswoman for the state fire marshal’s office, said in a statement.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports