GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A fire that killed two people at a Grand Junction storage facility was an accident, authorities said Monday as they continued to investigate whether the victims had been living inside one of the units.
Thomas Smith, 56, and Tom Lintz, 49, died in the Saturday night fire, the Mesa County coroner’s office said. Their bodies were found after firefighters extinguished the Saturday night blaze that destroyed at least three units at Guardian Storage. Firefighters used saws to cut through the metal and put out the fire.
The men died of burns and soot inhalation, the coroner’s office said. Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Shawn Montgomery said authorities are still trying to determine whether the men were living in the unit. The coroner’s report will help investigators determine the cause and origin of the flames.
Judy Robbins, a co-owner of Guardian Storage, told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that the business does not allow people to live in the units, and employees had to kick out four people last fall. She said she did not know the people who died Saturday.
Those who kept their belongings in the facility were sorting through their losses over the weekend. Kimberly Hess, whose unit was destroyed, told the newspaper she lost baby books, her wedding album, kids’ books, camping gear and a Christmas tree, among other items.
In 2005, a cigarette-caused fire at a Guardian Storage facility destroyed more than 40 units and caused about $250,000 in damage.
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