An 85-year-old man died late Sunday afternoon in a fire at a small apartment building near Interstate 35W and E. Lake Street in Minneapolis, neighbors and authorities reported.

The fire, which was reported just after 4 p.m. and quickly knocked down by firefighters, appeared to have started in a second-floor apartment of the three-story brick building, whose first floor once housed the now-closed Roundup Beer Hall.

Police officers at the scene said a man who lived in that apartment was found dead by firefighters as they searched the building.

Several neighbors identified him as Donald A. Morgan, whom they said had lived in the building for decades and formerly worked as its caretaker until the building was sold several years ago.

Pamela Boyd, who lives on the third floor with her son, said she called 911 and fled outside with her son and her dogs after smelling smoke in the building for about 10 minutes. She was not able to save her cat, she said.

Boyd, who has lived in the building for 12 years, said that only two of its apartments were occupied -- hers, on the third floor, and Morgan's, on the second floor, where the fire apparently started.

"I didn't see any flames; all I saw was smoke," Boyd said as she stood outside the building as firefighters wrapped up their work. "The [smoke] alarm went off, and my dogs came running."

Boyd and her son said they last saw Morgan on Thursday.

She told firefighters that she heard some noises minutes before the fire but was unsure what they were or if they were related to the fire that followed.

The building is topped by a large digital billboard owned by Clear Channel that can be easily spotted from the nearby freeway.

Heron Marquez Estrada • 952-746-3281