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Explosives found with man's body in rubble of Fitchburg condo fire, DA says

FITCHBURG, Mass. — Crews tearing down a destroyed condo building in Fitchburg have found the body of a male victim and homemade explosive devices, according to Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early.

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On Monday afternoon, crews stopped demolishing the building after discovering the body on the third floor underneath a collapsed section of roofing. The remains have been taken by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who will conduct an autopsy.

Officials have not yet identified the victim, but the DA said they found identification on the man's body, and they're not releasing his name until the autopsy is complete and next of kin is notified.

The DA said earlier that they were investigating a report of an unaccounted-for person.

“We’ve heard bits and pieces about the gentleman that was in there," Early said. "We cannot say for sure what his mental status was or what was going on with him but this will unfold.”

Two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found inside the unit where the body was discovered, according to DA Early. Propane tanks were also located near the IEDs, per officials.

Neighbors heard an explosion before the condo building on Beekman Street went up in flames around 6 p.m. on Sunday. The black smoke poured into the air for hours as people could see it from miles away.

One woman was trapped on the third floor and had to be rescued.

“Once I saw the ladder coming I just wanted to jump out," said Molly Benevides, who was rescued from the third floor by firefighters. "It was the best thing I’ve ever seen. Just knowing people were there to help everyone. You owe your life to them.”

After finally putting the flames out, crews spent the morning at the scene dousing water on hot spots. Officials are still trying to determine the cause and origin of the fire, which displaced at least 50 people.

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