Casper motel owner: Man who died in fire was trespassing in room, sparked blaze with cigarette

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CASPER, Wyoming — The owner of a Casper motel that was the site of a deadly fire earlier this month says the man who was killed illegally entered the vacant room and sparked the blaze by smoking on a bare mattress.

Bob Dungan, who owns the Topper Motel, tells The Casper Star-Tribune ( ) that 56-year-old Michael Johnson trespassed in a room that had been vacated earlier that day for renovations. Dungan says the death and damage were not caused by any pre-existing conditions at the motel.

Firefighters arrived Nov. 13 to find smoke billowing from the building, and investigators say the fire alarm did not have a battery in it. Dungan says the room had a functioning smoke alarm that had been tested Oct. 21.

Johnson was homeless and had been living in Casper for some time.

Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

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