The Bowling Green Fire Department responded to a fire at 1:11 a.m. Friday morning, reported in the building at 127 E. Main St. in Bowling Green.
"Police and fire department came in and got everybody out by pounding on the doors," said Clayton Peterson, a building resident.
The call came from a neighbor who reported smelling smoke in the building. There are seven apartments located above the Qdoba Mexican Restaurant on Main Street. The fire department was there within minutes.
"When they got there, it was light smoke coming from the room of origin. They forced entry and quickly extinguished the fire," BG Fire Captain Scott Eschedor said.
The smoke was coming from the home of 53-year-old Marshall Drake. They found Drake inside unconscious and tried revive him, but were unable to. Drake did not suvive.
Neighbors recall him as a very pleasant and gentle man who was always willing to lend a hand.
"We always talked to each other in passing. [He] always helped me carry things up the stairs. He was just the gentlest, sweetest person," Peterson said.
Clayton Peterson's front door is just feet away from Drakes seconf floor apartment. He says he was startled awake when authorities arrived.
Peterson explains, "I came around the back of the building and saw this black smoke coming out of Marshall's apartment."
The cause is still under investigation, but Peterson says he thinks there may be a possible origin.
"I would consider an accidental fire, perhaps by smoking," Peterson said. "He was a smoker."
He also said Drake appeared to be in poor health.
"I think that he was perhaps ill, and fell asleep and couldn't get outside to smoke and thought it would be ok," he said.
A charred pack of cigarettes and numerous butts were still cling to the remains of a burned futon mattress located in the alley behind the building. The report says Drake may have been sleeping when the fire broke out.
The report also listed the possible origin as a pillow or linens.
There was a smoke detector present, but according to officials, it didn't appear to work. The exact cause of death will be determined by the coroner.