An elderly man found dead inside his burning home this morning in Southwest Philadelphia had been shot to death.

Authorities now are investigating Grover Edwards' death as a murder and arson.

The blaze was reported at 7:30 a.m. this morning in a rowhome on Springfield Avenue near 59th Street, said Lt. Bernard Gilliam, a fire spokesman. It started on the first floor, but the fire marshal's office is still determining the cause, Gilliam said. An arson dog was on the scene this morning, as neighbors and relatives gathered to mourn the loss of a man whose well-kept house had been among the nicest on the block.

Edwards, 74, was divorced and lived there alone, his sister Norma Ferguson said. Several months ago, he got mugged on the street but traded blows with his attacker and escaped, she said. Ferguson and Edwards' other relatives now wonder if the mugger returned for vengeance or some other thug decided to prey on a vulnerable old man.

"I never thought that he would leave before me," said Ferguson, 76, of West Philadelphia.

Edwards was a father of four and grandfather to "a lot - I can't even tell you how many," she said. He was retired from the Navy Yard and spent his retirement years improving his home, she added. "He was always fixing something," she said.