Christmas fire victim identified

The family of Sergio Leonel Rivera has now been identified by Sweetwater authorities about his death in a Christmas morning fire on the 200 block of Lewis Front Street in Sweetwater.The 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 the house just after 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. Preliminary autopsy results show that the victim died from smoke inhalation. Fire investigators believe that a space heater may have been the cause of the house fire. Rivera's funeral services are currently pending with McCoy Funeral Home in Sweetwater.