MERIDEN — A man authorities were searching for following a Monday morning fire was found dead nearby.
Meriden Police Sgt. Christopher Fry identified him as Justin Miller, 35. Officers determined his death was a suicide.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze, and police are investigating Miller’s death.
Firefighters responded to 40 Side Hill Road around 5:15 a.m. for a report of a fire in a basement garage. Fire Marshal Steve Trella said a woman arrived home and discovered the house was filled with smoke.
Fireighters searched the house for Miller, who the woman said was her son and should have been home, according to Trella. Police later found him dead on River Road after a report from a passerby.
State police responded to the home with a dog trained to detect accelerants, Trella said. They collected samples from the debris and sent them to the state laboratory for testing.
Trella said Monday afternoon it was too early in the investigation to determine a cause of the fire, which started in the basement. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was unable to immediately provide information on Miller’s death.
Fire Chief Ken Morgan said the fire spread rapidly from the basement garage through the home, causing the first floor to collapse. One firefighter fell through the floor but was not injured.
Utilities were shut off and the home has been deemed uninhabitable, Trella noted. There is extensive damage in the basement where the fire started, and ventilation holes were cut in the roof.
The home was built in 1964 and is owned by Linda Dionizio, according to property records.
Read more articles like this and help support local journalism by subscribing to the Record Journal.
Unlimited Digital Access just 99¢
Read more articles like this by subscribing to the Record Journal.
Unlimited Digital Access for just 99¢