Update 12/1/20 – Investigators have released the name of the person whose remains were found inside a Simply Self Storage unit last month following a fire. The body of Travis Sterrett, 28, of Lafayette, was identified through DNA testing, Costello said.
The preliminary causes of death were identified as smoke inhalation and thermal burns. An official cause of death hasn’t yet been determined and is pending a full toxicology report.
Although the cause of the blaze is still being studied, investigators found no evidence that the unit was being used as an illicit drug lab, according to Lafayette Fire Captain Todd Budd. Sterrett might have been living in the unit, but no heating devices were found inside, he added.
Twenty storage units were damaged by the fire.
11/17/20 – Investigators discovered human remains inside a unit at a Simply Self Storage in Lafayette, Ind., following a Nov. 12 fire. The space was among several at 4900 Tazer Drive that burned at around 2 a.m., according to sources.
The death is being treated as a homicide until proven otherwise, according to Carrie Costello, chief deputy coroner for the Tippecanoe County Coroner’s Office. “There just isn’t much right now. I’m hoping the autopsy will give us some additional information,” she said.
A forensic anthropologist is assisting the coroner's office in its investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
Based in Orlando, Fla., Simply operates 124 facilities in 23 states. Its portfolio of owned and managed properties comprise more than 10.3 million net rentable square feet. The company was recently acquired by Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust Inc., a non-traded real estate investment platform affiliated with Blackstone Group Inc.
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