Share This Page

Investigators believe cigarette sparked fire that killed man in Butler County

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 11:34 a.m.

An investigation continued on Thursday into whether a cigarette sparked a fire in a Butler County apartment building that left one man dead.

Firefighters on Wednesday found Donald Sutch, 53, in his bed in the 10-unit building on German Street in Jackson, township police Chief Terry Seilhamer said. Sutch was a smoker, and Seilhamer said it appears the fire started near a couch in a corner of the living room.

Police responding to a report of a structure fire about 8:30 p.m. arrived to find heavy smoke, Seilhamer said.

Trooper Luke Nelson said investigators found multiple packs of cigarettes and lighters inside the apartment.

“It appears smoking or careless use of smoking materials is the likely cause,” Nelson said.

One resident of the building was hospitalized with smoke inhalation, and medics treated a firefighter at the scene for exhaustion, Seilhamer said.

It appears Sutch died of smoke inhalation, Seilhamer said. The state police fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire, which was contained to Sutch's apartment.

Fifteen people lived in the building, the chief said. The American Red Cross is assisting one family with food, clothing and shelter, spokeswoman Dominique Buccina said.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.