Deadly Richmond fire caused by cigarettes, fire chief says

Scene of the fire.

RICHMOND, Ind.– A deadly fire in Richmond was the result of “smoking material” in connection with cigarette use, according to Richmond Fire Chief Jerry Purcell.

The fire broke out at Interfaith Apartments on North West Fifth Street  Monday around 5 p.m. Andrew Thornberg, 48, and Richard Wilkinson, 56, were killed and several more were hospitalized.

Thornberg lived in the apartment in which the fire began, Purcell said.

The entire building was evacuated as crews worked to put out the flames and rescue those injured. It was reportedly a difficult process because those who live in the building are older or have a disability.

The fire department says it extinguished the blaze within 70 minutes. According to officials, the fire was limited to the one apartment’s contents and there was no structural damage from the fire.

Two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation. Officials said they expect those transported to the hospital to be okay.

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