EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) --For almost a decade neighbors in East Elmhurst say two old junk cars have sat in the front driveway of an elderly man's home.
Fire officials say the clutter both out front and inside the two-story home made it difficult for them to battle this blaze and reach the victim.
The 88 year-old resident inside, died inside before help could reach him.
The fire broke out around 4:30 Sunday morning and it was an all hands on deck response requiring sixty firefighters to get under control. It took them about a half an hour to do so.
One neighbor says firefighters had trouble accessing the building from the front, and had to enter from the back.
Residents say he lived alone and would rarely see him outside.
"Very reclusive, had no kids, no immediate family," said neighbor Erica Fernandez, "You would see the lights on, I'm assuming that someone lives there. The two cars are here, the license plates are registered, but I never saw anyone. My Mom says his wife passed away a few years ago."
Those who did see him say it was rare, but they say he loved animals and was a Korean War veteran.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Two firefighters received minor injuries, and identity of the victim has not yet been released.