A man beloved by his Hudson Valley community, called "Santa Claus," is dead.

A fire broke out early Friday morning in Westchester County

Fatal Fire In Westchester County, New York

close-up of flames from a fire rising

Fire officials say the flames erupted on the third floor of a six-floor apartment building on Fifth Avenue in New Rochelle, New York around 3:15 a.m.

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A man was found unconscious in his apartment. He was given CPR but later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Fire officials have yet to release his name.

Man Known As Santa Clause Killed In Fire In New Rochelle, New York


ABC 7 identified the victim as 45-year-old Damien Peart.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News Peart was beloved by his neighbors. He was known as "Santa Claus" because he would wear a Santa hat year-round.

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All the other residents made it out safely. Several residents were checked out in the lobby by firefighters, but no injuries were reported.

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The fire was put out in about 20 minutes. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Interested in seeing "Santa's" million-dollar home in the North Pole? Take a look below:

Inside Santa's Million Dollar North Pole Home

The North Pole's most sought-after listing, and the only North Pole listing on Zillow, has hit the market just in time for Christmas. This charming log cabin-style dwelling takes cozy to a whole other whimsical level. Described in the listing as a "one-of-a-kind dwelling" that offers a glimpse into the enchanting life of Santa and Mrs. Claus, the compound sits on 25 enchanting acres. The main house is 2086 square feet, has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and oozes comfy coziness. Built back in 1822, the classic Old World style has had some updates and renovations with all the modern touches and it can all be yours for $1,177,870. Keep in mind, you must love toy making!

Gallery Credit: Zillow

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