Man's body found after fire in unit piled 'waist-high' with books

A man’s body has been found following a unit fire in the Sydney suburb of Newtown.

It’s still not confirmed who he is but the man who lived in the home, Peter Eisler, has not been seen since the blaze.

The fire broke out in the darkness of early morning, with flames billowing from the roof of the unit block.

A man’s body has been found following a unit fire in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. Source: 7 News

In the chaos, another resident, Sam Dare, rushed to alert his neighbours.

“Ran upstairs and bang on the doors on the way up, then got upstairs, got everyone out of the flats upstairs,” he said.

Eleven people were safely evacuated from their homes – but in Unit 8, where the fire had started,  there was no answer.

In the chaos, Sam Dare rushed to alert his neighbours. Source: 7 News

“I kicked the door in but the whole flat is full of stuff and there was fire everywhere and really thick smoke in it,” Sam Dare said.

“I tried to go in, but [there was] just too much smoke.”

Inside the unit, firefighters found mountains of books piled waist-high, creating hazardous conditions.

Given the large volume of belongings inside this unit, it took dozens of firefighters most of the day to safely get inside and make sure the blaze was fully extinguished.

It took firefighters all day to clear the unit, which was piled high with books and other items. Source: 7 News

NSW Fire and Rescue’s duty commander John McDonough said the amount of material being hoarded in the unit made it “extremely difficult” to put the fire out.

But no resource was spared, as drones surveyed the danger from the air.

On Tuesday night police held grave concerns for the missing man, who is a known lover of books and movies and a friend to many who lived nearby.

The unit’s occupant, Peter Eisler, has not been seen since the fire. Source: 7 News

After combing through the ruins all day, police confirmed that a body had been found inside the charred remains of the unit.

The body has not been formally identified and the cause of the fire is under investigation.