Fire that killed Marshall man started by a cigarette, report says

MARSHALL – A house fire that claimed the life of a Marshall man in July was caused by a lit or discarded cigarette, a report from the State Fire Marshal’s office said. The fire was determined to be accidental.

Marshall firefighters responded to a report of smoke at a residence on Ranch Avenue on the morning of July 12. Joshua Williams, 30, a resident of the house, was found dead on the basement level of the house. The State Fire Marshal’s office investigated the fire, and the investigation report was released on Wednesday.

A mail carrier approaching the house at 9:45 a.m. July 12 reported smelling smoke and seeing soot on a front window, the report said. The Marshall Fire Department responded to the call, and found Williams after entering the basement level of the house. The fire had extinguished itself, the report said.

The fire investigation found the most extensive fire damage in a basement bedroom, the report said. The bed in the bedroom was determined to be the area where the fire started, and an ashtray and a burned cigarette pack were found on the bed, the report said. The report said an examination of the electrical service and appliances in the bedroom found no evidence of failures that could have caused the fire.

There were working smoke detectors in the house, the report said.

Williams’ body was found in a family room to the west of the bedroom, the report said. A provisional report from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner indicated Williams died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of smoke inhalation, the fire investigation report said.

The report concluded that the fire was caused by a discarded or lit cigarette igniting bedding. The report said the fire should be classified as accidental.