Neighbours spoke of their shock at the scene in Stonehill Rise, Scawthorpe, following the death of the pensioner, named locally as Walter Robert Pickard.
An investigation into the cause of the fire, which occurred at around 6.30am yesterday is underway.
Maureen Stevenson, who lives next door to Mr Pickard – known to friends as Bob – said the whole street is in a state of shock.
She added: “I heard the sound of breaking glass and could see smoke through the kitchen window and flames around the back of Bob’s house. The first thing we did was phone 999.
“The grandkids were here so we all got up and evacuated the property as we were worried it might explode.
“We could see the fire at the back of the house, we knew it was something very serious.
“We are all in a state of shock and so upset. Bob was a kind and caring person and a lovely neighbour.
“We all looked out for each other on the street and we would always call round and see Bob.”
The roof of the house was largely destroyed in the blaze, with the property still cordoned off yesterday afternoon with police officers standing guard.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and attempted to rescue the elderly man.
Crews used hose reels to extinguish the fire.
Three fire engines from Doncaster, Askern, Rossington and Dearne stations attended the incident.
A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “The detached bungalow on Stonehill Rise was well alight when crews arrived.
“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the property and rescued the man.”
An investigation into the cause of the fire will now take place.