POLICE believe 69-year-old Eric Noonoo was burnt to death when he fell asleep with a lighted cigarette on Thursday afternoon. His one-bedroom house at Welcome Road, Cunupia, was also destroyed.
Police officers on patrol saw smoke coming from the wooden house, located on agriculture land, around 2.30 p.m. The land is owned by Noonoo's family.
The Fire Service was contacted and officers discovered the elderly man's remains in the ashes.
Noonoo, a pensioner, lived alone.
His elder brother, Harold Noonoo, said: "My brother was beginning to forget things. I wouldn't say he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He was just forgetting things lately. Police think he was smoking and he fell asleep."
Noonoo said his brother was divorced and had no children.
"He chose to live alone. He was always a free man, walking the streets and living a free life. But I noticed about two years ago he became subdued. He was not sick, he just got quiet," he said.
Noonoo said he spoke with his brother three hours before he died.
"I called him and we had a nice conversation. He lived a lonely life. I didn't know it would have been the last time we spoke. My son went there after school around 3.30 p.m. and he saw the house destroyed."
An autopsy performed yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre in St James found Eric Noonoo died from smoke inhalation.
Cunupia police are investigating the case.