Police investigating badly burned body - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Police investigating badly burned body

Memphis police are investigating a death after firefighters found a body while responding to a house fire early Thursday morning in Orange Mound.

Fire crews arrived at the home in the 500 block of Baltimore shortly after 1:30 a.m. It took about 10 minutes for crews to extinguish the flames, during which time they discovered the badly burned body.

Investigators haven't determined the victim's age, don't know if it's a male or a female, and aren't sure as to whether the person was already dead or died as a result of the fire. And while the victim's identity must still be confirmed, neighbors said they are pretty sure they know who's body it is.

Neighbor Oscar Ellis said he "knows" that the body the medical examiner is trying to identify is his friend Joe Cole.

"Me and the guy we sat here on the porch until about 11-o"clock," Ellis said.

Ellis said after Cole left his porch, he assumed the 57 year old had walked a few feet to the room he rents in the back of this house on Baltimore Street.

It was about 3 hours later when the sound of fire trucks woke ells up and Cole's room was on fire.

At the corner store where Joe Cole did odd jobs, co-workers were devastated by news of his death.

A donation canister has been set up at the store to help with Cole's funeral expenses.

Through out the day customers came in to pay their respects to the friendly man they said will always be special in their hearts.

Two other people who lived in the home were not in the home when the fire broke out.

Fire department officials say the cause of the blaze is still being investigated.

Click here to e-mail Ben Watson.

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