- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) - Authorities say improper disposal of smoking materials caused a Waltham house fire that killed the man who lived there.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Waltham officials also identified the victim Wednesday as 53-year-old Phillip Muskalski.

The officials said he lived alone in the house on Albemarle Road and was known to be a heavy smoker. The officials said the Tuesday morning fire started near or on the living room couch.

Waltham officials said firefighters were unable to get inside because of intense smoke and flames. Fire Chief Paul Ciccone said it is their mission to save people “and it is always hard on them when they cannot.”

Coan said it was the 55th fire death in Massachusetts this year. There were 44 in 2013.

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