Chadron fire victim identified
Authorities have confirmed the identity of the person killed in an apartment fire Wednesday night at the Blaine Hotel in Chadron as 47-year old Bradley Morris, a resident of the building. Morris' body was found by firefighters in his second-floor apartment.
Dawes County Attorney and Coroner Vance Haug says an autopsy Thursday in Scottsbluff by Dr Pete Schilke determined that Morris died of smoke inhalation, while a preliminary report on the fire indicated it was likely a smoking accident.
Haug says Deputy State Fire Marshal Ryan Sylvester determined in his investigation that the fire began on a couch, and that with no accelerant detected, a cigarette falling onto the couch was the most likely cause of the fire. Haug says the investigation by Sylvester, the Chadron police, and his office is continuing.
The 3-story Blaine Hotel...best known as the starting point for the legendary 1893 Chadron to Chicago Horse Race...has residential apartments on the two upper floors with office space and a limited number of apartments on the ground floor.
The fire itself was limited to Morris' apartment, but there was smoke damage through most of the rest of the building with the possibility of damage to electrical wiring. As a result, residents have not yet been allowed to return to their apartments other that to get personal items.
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