BAY RIDGE - Firefighters discovered a burned body Tuesday morning while putting out a brush fire at Owl?s Head Park.
The firefighters were called to the scene just after 4 a.m. As they were putting out the fire, in an area of the park locals call ?Dead Man?s Hill,? they discovered a partially clothed, burned body of a man.
Police were immediately notified, and have been on the scene ever since.
Residents say they are shocked by the discovery. ?The park is very safe,? resident Ned Lynch says. ?I walk the dog here at all hours sometimes, so this is a real surprise to me.? Lynch says the presence of police cars in the park is a rare occurrence, so the sight of them Tuesday morning left him uneasy.
Some people in the neighborhood suspect the victim may have been a member of a homeless community that lives in the park. ?They don?t bother anyone,? resident Bernadette Hoban says. ?This is a dense part of the park ... they probably found the most dense place to hide.?
Others say homeless people sometimes head to the park to stay warm. ?There?s no group out there that has any kind of service for them to get a meal,? Susan Pritchard says. ?[There?s no place] to come out of the cold.? Pritchard hopes the tragedy will help shed some light on the lack of shelter for the homeless.
The medical examiner and detectives plan to spend the day trying to figure out what happened, and police are continuing their investigation. Authorities are currently unsure if the victim was a homeless man who burned himself trying to stay warm, or if he was the victim of an attack.