Lots of questions surround the discovery of a body found in a burned out Wichita apartment. People who live in the complex aren't the only ones asking what happened. The Wichita Fire Department wants to know, too.
Firefighters returned to the apartment complex Tuesday, after maintenance crews discovered the body while cleaning out the apartment. Now they're working with the police to figure out what happened.
"I just don't understand how you wouldn't know someone was in there," said Christie Gregg, who lives in the complex.
"I don't have all the answers," Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.
But Wichita fire investigators are trying to find them.
"At this point we don't even know how long this person has been deceased. We don't know if they were in there prior to the fire. We don't know if they got in there after the fire," said Crisp.
Gregg says she tried to warn people the man who lived in the apartment was home the night of the fire. But firefighters found nothing when they searched. The resident's possessions were part of the problem.
"He had a lot of belongings," said neighbor Mary Casey. "The maintenance staff has been in and out of his apartment several times and just believed that it was more stuff on the bed."
"From several inches of storage, videotapes and boxes and clothing, to several feet of those items," said Crisp.
Despite the difficulty, Crisp says it's firefighters job to find people.
"And we use tools like thermal imaging cameras," he said. "We use our hands, which are covered with gloves and we're feeling around and we're looking around and we're trying to look in every crook, every nook, every cranny."
So the department is reviewing how it searches and what methods firefighters used in this case, that includes questioning neighbors.
"We do ask questions like, 'Is anybody here? Does anybody know?' Our investigators go around and ask those questions as well," he said.
"It'd been a month, two months before the fire that I seen him last and then I never saw him again," said neighbor John Silveous. "Even though his vehicle's still here."
"And we're trying to determine what, if anything, we could've done differently to have a different outcome," said Crisp.
Gregg just wishes someone had listened to her last December.
"And I noticed the guy's van was in the parking lot, which he doesn't ever leave without it," Gregg said. "So I was convinced and I knew with everything in me that he was in there."
Crisp says investigators did speak with a family member shortly after the fire. That person told them the gentleman who lived in the apartment had likely left the country before the fire.
The Fire Department hopes autopsy results have some of the answers, but investigators say it may take awhile to get those results.