Police probe death of man found in Muddy River on Saturday suffering from burns

Allan Chassas, 47, died in a fire Saturday night. Smoke and fire billowed from the Fenway again on Thursday night in this photo.
Allan Chassas, 47, died in a fire Saturday night. Smoke and fire billowed from the Fenway again on Thursday night in this photo.Credit: Matt See for The Boston Globe

Boston police have identified the man who died Sunday after being rescued from the Muddy River during a fire Saturday night as Allan Chassas, 47, of Abington.

Chassas was found in the water just after 6 p.m. Saturday while Boston firefighters worked to put out a blaze that started in the tall reeds that line the banks of the river, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald. Chassas had suffered burns, and investigators believe he had run through the weeds and jumped into the water, according to a statement from the Boston police.

“There wasn’t any screaming or anything like that,” said MacDonald. “He was in the middle of the river; he was obviously injured.”

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Chassas was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to the police statement, where he died Sunday.

“We wanted to ask him questions about the fire on Saturday, because he was obviously in the area and was a witness,” said MacDonald.

Another fire erupted in the reeds near the Muddy River Thursday evening. MacDonald said no injuries were reported in that fire.

Both fires are under investigation, officials said.

MacDonald said the lack of rain and extremely dry conditions are making areas like the Muddy River prone to brush fires.

On Friday, a large swath of charred reeds was visible where the fires broke out. The area is lively with walkers and joggers during the day, but several people out on Friday afternoon said they avoid the area at night.

“I know that everything I read says don’t go alone,” said Tammy Bingham, 50, who walks in the area during her lunch break from the nearby company where she works.

Footpaths had been worn through the reeds and beer cans were scattered near the water’s edge.

Boston police are actively investigating facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 617-343-4470.

Community members wishing to assist anonymously can do so by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463), police said.

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