Yakima Man Dies In Fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Man Dies In Fire

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YAKIMA--One man is dead after an early-morning fire in Yakima.

Firefighters are still investigating what caused the fire, but witnesses suspect that Dave Smith was smoking in his bed.  One neighbor said the people that lived with Smith attempted to keep him from smoking indoors.

"[They] tried to make sure all the cigarettes and everything were out of [Smith's] room," Lynn Harden said.  "From what I'm hearing, it sounds like that's where it started."

Firefighters responded to the 900 block of Pleasant Ave. at 6:15 a.m. after a smoke alarm alerted neighbors.

Firefighters tried to rescue Smith, but were unable to.  Reports that there were explosives in the house kept firefighters from combating the fire aggressively.

"So we had conflicting reports that [Smith] had some railroad flares," Yakima Deputy Fire Marshal Ron Melcher said.  "Because [he] had worked with the railroad, it'd be very common for him to have those.  And other reports said, no, he had explosives back there."

Melcher estimated damages at $200,000 and said the house was a total loss.  The homeowner did have insurance, but he does not think his tenants had renter's insurance.

Another one of the tenants is currently in stable condition at Memorial Hospital.

This is the first fire death in Yakima in 2008.