Fire crews responded to the scene, a home near Judkins Park at 1816 S. Lane St., at about 1:50 a.m. Wednesday after a neighbor called 911 to report smoke and flames coming from every window in the home.
The caller also said someone was trapped inside the home.
But when firefighters arrived to rescue the man and extinguish the blaze, they found every room filled with debris - up to their waists, even their elbows.
They made their way to the bedroom, where they found a man unconscious on the floor. After eight minutes of CPR, they got a pulse and took the man to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries from burns and smoke inhalation.
Neighbors say the man who lives here lost his job a few months ago and kept to himself. He is believed to be in his 50s.
"A couple of months ago he got let go because he was feeling ill," says neighbor Pamela Sternin. "I don't know the details, but that's what happened and I don't think he had a job after that."
Neighbors say the man had lived in the home for decades.
It took crews about an hour to extinguish the blaze, and they were still at the scene at daybreak Wednesday dousing hot spots.
An investigation found that improperly discarded smoking materials in an under-the-sink kitchen garbage can caused the fire. The damage estimate is $100,000 to the structure and $50,000 to the contents.