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Police Find Body In Vacant House After South Jersey Fire

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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (CBS/AP) – Prosecutors say a man’s body was found inside a long-vacant southern New Jersey home after a mysterious fire broke out at the residence Friday night.

It’s not yet known what caused the fire that heavily damaged the home in the unit block of Berlin-Cross-Keys Road in Washington Township. But Gloucester County officials said Saturday that squatters often stayed at the residence, which was filled with trash and debris.

Firefighters found the body shortly after they responded to the home around 9:30 p.m., after a passing motorist had called 911 to report the fire. Police have not yet identified the victim, but dental impressions have been taken for examination. Missing persons reports are also being checked in the identification process.

Details on the man’s injuries were not immediately disclosed, but an autopsy conducted by the county medical examiner’s office Saturday afternoon indicated the victim’s cause of death was smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The house has been vacant for more than 10 years. Its owner lives in Florida.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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