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A 41-year-old man died early Christmas morning in a fire in his Sweetwater home.
According to Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden, firefighters received a call about smoke coming from a house on the 200 block of Lewis Front Street between 2 and 3 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. "People saw smoke coming from the house and called 9-1-1."
Madden stated that the small house was boarded up and looked abandoned upon arrival. Shortly after Sweetwater firefighters began to battle the blaze, a neighbor alerted firefighters of a man possibly living in the home. It took firefighters only about a minute to locate the man and take him out of the smoke-filled home, but it was too late, according to Madden. "The firefighters were standing pretty close to the victim, but it was already too late for him as he was very severely burned by the time firefighters reached him."
An ambulance was called and efforts were made to revive the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. According to Madden, the fire was extinguished quickly, but the large amount of heat and smoke probably contributed to the victim's death. His body has been sent to a medical examiner for an autopsy.
Fire investigators believe that a space heater may have been the cause of the house fire, although it has not been confirmed yet.
The victim is said to have come to Sweetwater from California, working for a local hotel and restaurant. His family has not yet been notified.