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UPDATE: Man dies in early morning shed fire

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | 6:27 p.m. CST; updated 1:06 p.m. CST, Wednesday, January 21, 2009

COLUMBIA — Columbia fire investigators were looking into the possibility that the man whose body was discovered in the burned rubble of a shed early Tuesday may have used the shed as shelter in the past.

Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said investigators "had information" that several people had used the shed, behind the 4200 Rock Quarry Road home of Columbia lawyer Carolyn Mathews.

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Mathews did not return reporters' phone calls Tuesday.

Fire investigators discovered the body in the rubble of the shed soon after they put out the fire, which was reported at 3:05 a.m.  Fire crews arrived and discovered the  small shed behind the home fully engulfed in flames and quickly extinguished it.

The structure was about 15 feet from Mathews' home. All that remained of it was one standing wall and burned debris, including a space heater, small refrigerator, and other appliances. Mathews' house was not damaged in the blaze.

Mathews was home at the time of the fire , according to a Fire Department official.

The Columbia Police Department and the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office were investigating the identity and cause of death of the man.  An autopsy was  scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.


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