Chesterton Tribune



Porter man dies in apartment fire Friday

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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 Department said.

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.

Yaus’ brother 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 combustibles.”

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.

Firefighters used 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.


Posted 5/7/2018




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