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Lake County Fire Death Being Investigated by State Fire Marshal Ocala Investigators

8/5/2002

MOUNT PLYMOUTH, FLORIDA - Investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal in Ocala are working with the Lake County Sheriff's Office to investigate the death of a Lake County resident in a trailer fire Sunday morning.

The Lake County Fire and Rescue Division was called to the mobile home at #4 Madison Drive, Mount Plymouth, after neighbors reported seeing smoke and flames at 8:07 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived, they found the trailer engulfed in flames and neighbors attempting to fight the fire with garden hoses. After extinguishing the fire, emergency personnel found the body of John Charles Howsam, 69, inside the structure.

The cause of Howsam's death is under investigation by the medical examiner's office. Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Ocala Field Office say the fire caused approximately $40,000 worth of damage to his doublewide trailer.

The remains of a smoke detector were found in the mobile home, but investigators were unable to determine whether the alarm was functioning when the fire started.

Officials of the State Fire Marshal's Office, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, remind Floridians to check their smoke detectors at least twice a year to be sure they are working properly. Other tips:


· Check and change the batteries twice a year when the time changes.

· Smoke detectors should be placed outside each bedroom.

· Do not disable smoke alarms while cooking.

La Oficina de Investigación de Incendios Naturales y Premeditados es una delegación policial de la División del Jefe de Bomberos del Estado que ayuda a otras agencias de policía y de bomberos locales y estatales en la investigación de incendios de origen sospechoso. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON) or the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 352-343-9500. La información también puede enviarse por correo a Arson Control, P.O. Box 1654, Winter Park, Florida, 32790.