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Forensic scientists have been called in to help determine the cause of death of an elderly man who was found by firefighters in his Mosgiel home yesterday.
Meanwhile, a woman who lived next door to the man has paid a tearful tribute to her ''lovely neighbour and friend,'' a familiar sight over her fence for more than for half a century.
Fire crews converged on the property at the corner of Braemar St and Tyne St shortly after 8.30am to reports of smoke coming from the roof of the house.
Upon entry they found a man inside and unconscious, but he could not be revived and St John said he died at the scene.
Forensic specialists from Environmental Science and Research would be flying in to the city to help detectives and fire investigators.
The Otago Daily Times understands while the death of the retired man is unexplained, it is not thought to be suspicious.
The man's home is now cordoned off behind police tape as an officer stands guard outside.
A woman who lives next door, and who asked not to be named, fought back tears as she described her neighbour of more than 50 years.
"He was a neighbour of about 54 years .... and he was a lovely neighbour and friend.
"I'm still quite emotional about it.
"It's just sad to think that you get to our ages and it ends like that.''