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Investigators: Emmett man killed in fire fell asleep while smoking

The man woke up when the blaze started, investigators say, but could not escape his burning house.
Credit: Emmett City Fire Department

EMMETT -- Fire investigators have determined the cause of an Emmett house fire that killed one man.

According to State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the home's resident Eric Brockbank fell asleep while smoking in bed.

Investigators believe that Brockbank woke up when the fire started, but because of his limited mobility, could not escape the burning house. He died at the scene.

MORE: One person dead in Emmett house fire

“We are always saddened by the loss of any person from a fire,” Sandahl said. “Smoking is the third greatest cause of residential home deaths in America.”

The fire happened in the 900 block of East Main Street. According to Emmett's fire chief, the back of the house was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived. A dog found inside the house survived.

Sandahl warned against smoking in bed or inside a house at all, noting that many household items can easily catch fire if exposed to ashes or a lit cigarette. In addition, he said, residents should always have working smoke alarms and ensure cigarettes are completely out every time.

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