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Cigarette ignites fatal house fire
The city of Allen Fire Department revealed a fatality due to a house fire on Oct. 4. A 911 call was received at 9:46 a.m. from a passer-by who reported smoke emanating from the house at 902 Rush Street Drive. Response time was less than seven minutes, the fire report stated.
According to investigators, Gregory S. Ballou died as a result of smoke inhalation from a fire that started due to a cigarette smoldering several hours on an upholstered sofa inside the house. Ballou, 52, fell asleep on the sofa with a lit cigarette. He then got up and went to bed before waking up to the house filled with smoke due to the sofa igniting. The fire spread to other fabric and textiles in the house, causing an estimated $20,000 property and content loss to the 2,145-square-foot home.
When Ballou awoke, he reportedly passed near the front door, where he could have possibly escaped. Apparently, however, he was already disoriented from the smoke. Investigators believe his disorientation caused him to go to the rear of the house, instead, where he succumbed to smoke inhalation because he was unable to make it safely out of the house.
"It's just unfortunate," said APD Sgt. Jon Felty. "The best that fire investigators can tell, he fell asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette, and subsequently became disorientated from all the smoke.
"Who knows how much smoke he had inhaled at that point."