Investigators cite smoking materials, electrical malfunction as possible cause of deadly fire

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | 5:31 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Fire investigators couldn't rule out discarded smoking materials or an electrical malfunction as the possible cause of a fire that claimed the life of one man on Jan. 20, a Columbia Fire Department news release states.

The fire, which destroyed a shed at 4200 Rock Quarry Road, left little evidence investigators could use to determine a cause, the release states. Autopsy reports have confirmed the cause of death was a result of the fire.

The shed's owner, Carolyn Mathews, has since said she was "a friend" of the man and has declined further comments on the tragedy, the Missourian reported earlier. Battalion Chief Steven Sapp previously told the Missourian that the investigators had information that led them to think the victim had been staying in the shed.

Toxicology reports and a positive identification of the man who died in the fire are still out and may take up to three weeks to be completed.



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