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Cause of fatal Salt Lake City house fire remains a mystery

Published February 23, 2012 8:16 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The mystery of what caused a fatal southeast Salt Lake City house fire will go to the grave with the victim.

Salt Lake City Fire Capt. Tom Burckhard said investigators have given up trying to determine the cause of the Tuesday blaze that caused more than $100,000 in damage to the home of John Newsome, 81, who died shortly after being pulled from the 665 Wilson Ave. (1750 South) residence by firefighters.

"The fire is no longer under investigation and will go down as being of an 'undetermined' cause," Burckhard said Thursday. "Mr. Newsome was our only witness, and the damage to the house was so extensive we just cannot find the cause."

The fire was believed to have started in or near the home's main-level bedroom, but investigators were unable to determine anything else.

Newsome was found by firefighters in the house, unconscious, not breathing and without a pulse. Paramedics were able to restore his heartbeat and place him on a ventilator, but he later passed away, the apparent victim of smoke inhalation.

remims@sltrib.com