POUGHKEEPSIE, Dutchess County (WABC) -- Four people have died in an overnight fire in Poughkeepsie, fire officials confirmed Monday.
The fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. on Academy Street, and arriving firefighters found heavy fire on the first and second floors.
Fire Chief Mark Johnson said four bodies were recovered after the flames were extinguished. Two victims are males, one victim is a female, and officials are unsure of the gender of the fourth victim.
The building is said to be vacant for a number of years, and it is believed the victims were homeless.
Authorities said it wasn't safe for the firefighters to enter the burning structure because it was unstable and sections had collapsed, and once the fire was under control, they were able to enter parts of the structure.
The first victim was located at approximately 4 a.m., and the second was found soon after. The third and fourth victims were located in the rear of the structure, where there had been a partial collapse.
Besides the instability of the structure, officials say there was a massive hoarding situation from the previous owner, who passed away, that prevented firefighters from accessing certain areas of the building and also acted as kindling.
It also may have trapped some or all of the victims.
Firefighters continue to go through the building as safely as they can to make sure there are no other victims inside. There are still further collapse dangers, and it is expected to be an extended operation.
The cause of fire is under investigation and has not been determined.
The bodies were turned over to the Medical Examiner for identification and determination of the causes of death.
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