TWIN FALLS — A fire that killed a man last month was likely caused by a cigarette igniting a mattress, investigators said.
Michael Johnson, 65, was found by firefighters just a few feet from the door during the Sept. 28 fire on the 200 block of Addison Avenue, according to an investigation from Twin Falls Fire Marshal Tim Lauda released Wednesday.
Johnson was pulled from the house and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
Lauda concluded the fire to be accidental, with the most likely cause a lit cigarette that ignited a foam mattress and box springs in the bedroom.
The main level of the house was severely damaged by flames and heat from the rapidly burning blaze, Lauda reported. The basement had smoke damage.
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The house is owned by Seth Watte of Twin Falls. It had been divided into two rental units, according to the report.
Elliot Williams had been playing video games in the basement apartment at the time of fire when he heard noises coming from the upstairs unit, he told Lauda.
When Williams smelled smoke, he went outside and saw heavy black smoke coming from the house. He returned inside to wake his wife. They grabbed their dogs and ran outside to find flames coming from the side window. Williams called 911.
When Twin Falls Fire Department crews arrived at 2:09 a.m., the house was engulfed by flames, Capt. Devin Slagel wrote in his report.
A neighbor also told the firefighters the occupant of the home might still be inside, Slagel added.
That occupant turned out to be Johnson.