Nova Scotia RCMP are investigating a suspicious fire in Berwick and local residents have told CBC News a homeless man died in the fire on Wednesday morning.
Police say the fire broke out on Commercial Street around 2 a.m. Fire and police responded.
"RCMP found a 62-year-old man deceased," said Sgt. Alain LeBlanc.
Police haven't identified the man, but the CBC's Angela MacIvor says 20 people she's talked to in the town say it's the homeless man at the centre of a public discussion about homelessness in rural areas.
People in the town say he slept in the bus shelter every night.
Andra Gaudet regularly bought the man coffee.
“Usually when people come to this area and they see something that’s different or something that’s new, sometimes they have a hard time understanding it and fear kicks in, instead of taking the time to get to know the person," she said.
"I think he was really misunderstood.”
The RCMP have a section of Commercial Street blocked off and are investigating.
The fire happened in a bus shelter near Foodland. The shelter is covered in tarps Wednesday morning, but charred remains are visible.
Police are treating the death as suspicious.
A dozen businesses in the area are closed. Officers are telling people who work in the area to stay home and to check in again at noon.