A Porter man was
found deceased on Friday following a fire in his apartment at 179 S. 20th
St., believed to have been caused by careless smoking, the Porter Fire
The man was
identified as Bobby Lee Yaus, 28.
Yaus succumbed on
the floor of an upstairs bedroom, Fire Chief Jay Craig told the
Chesterton Tribune today.
An autopsy was
scheduled for today and both the cause and manner of death are pending,
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.
Craig said that the
fire was discovered at approximately 3 p.m. by Yaus’ brother and mother,
motor route drivers for the Chesterton Tribune. On arriving home,
they first observed the front door of the four-plex apartment to be open.
They then observed smoke coming out of the attached garage’s overhead door.
entered the apartment through a back door, failed to find his brother on the
first floor, and twice attempted to search the upstairs but was driven back
by heavy smoke, Craig said. His mother, in the meantime, called 911.
Responding to the
scene were the Porter, Chesterton, and Burns Harbor FDs, along with the
Porter and Chesterton PDs and Porter Regional Hospital EMS.
Alerted by his
mother and brother that Yaus may still have been in the apartment,
firefighters made entry and found him deceased in the upstairs bedroom.
Three cats and a dog also perished in the fire.
The origin of the
blaze was the first-floor front room, Craig said, which sustained heavy fire
and smoke damage. The fire itself, however, had “smothered itself” and was
out by the time firefighters arrived at the scene, in what Craig called an
unusual but not unheard of event. “It just ran out of oxygen and
Two couches, a
chair, a hutch, televisions, and other electronics were destroyed in the
front room, but the fire failed to spread beyond the hallway leading to the
kitchen, Craig added. Smoke on the first floor had mostly dispersed but was
still very heavy upstairs, he added.
no water at the scene but did check for extension, performing some minor
overhaul in the area of the couches.
Although the State
Fire Marshal has not yet completed his report, Craig said that the fire is
believed to have been accidental and caused by careless smoking. “We found
some evidence that there’d been smoking in the house.”
The PFD cleared the
scene at 7:11 p.m.