A Boxing Day house fire in Mount Royal claimed the life of an elderly Calgary man.

When fire crews arrived at the house on Premier Way at about 11:15 a.m. MT it was engulfed in flames and heavy smoke, officials said.

house fire

An elderly man is dead after his house in Mount Royal went up in flames on Boxing Day. (Neil Herland/CBC)

Firefighters found Otto Spika unconscious inside the house.

The retired family doctor later died in hospital, EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said.

He had lived alone in the house since his wife had a fatal fall five years ago, also on Boxing Day, said neighbour Glen Price.

"Normally we have him over for Christmas drinks but we had family so we didn't invite him. And he's by himself,” he said.

A demolition crew was brought in to tear down the house after it was determined the stubborn fire was still burning inside the walls and attic, said battalion chief John Cherweniuk.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Former Calgary alderman Jon Lord, a friend of Spika, posted about him on his Facebook page, saying he “always had an encyclopedic amount of knowledge on the malady which he shared with everyone being treated. You always left his company, feeling a lot smarter than you did when you first walked in. R.I.P. Dr. Otto Spika.”