Investigators discovered the body of a man inside a Fort Wayne, Ind., self-storage unit that caught fire on Wednesday. The blaze at BTE Storage at 2206 Broadway ignited about 5 p.m. The victim was identified yesterday as Fort Wayne resident Richard David Walls, 81. He died from smoke inhalation, and his death has been ruled an accident, according to the Allen County Coroner.
Another man suffered burn injuries and was taken to a local hospital. The extent of his wounds and how he received them is unknown.
Four storage units were damaged, and it took crews an hour to get the flames under control. Firefighters discovered Walls under large debris, including a television. It appears he became trapped and was overwhelmed by the heat and smoke before the roof collapsed, a source reported.
Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, a space heater located too close to another object might have started it, according to Adam O’Connor, deputy chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department. The storage unit didn’t appear to be lived in, but others in the building showed signs that they were being used for housing, a source reported.
BTE offers drive-up storage, manufacturing space and vehicle storage. It provides 24-hour access and electricity in some units.
Fort Wayne’s NBC News, Update: Man Found Dead Inside Burning Storage Unit
WPTA 21, Coroner: 81-Year-Old Man Lost His Life in Storage Facility Fire
Wane.com, Man Found Dead After Storage Center Fire ID’d as 81-Year-Old