Careless smoking likely cause of fatal fire - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Careless smoking likely cause of fatal fire

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A Woonsocket man was killed early Tuesday morning in a house fire that investigators blamed on careless smoking.

Charles Beerheide, 50, died in his home at 243 Lydia Ave. The fire was reported at about 6:15 a.m.

Investigators said careless smoking in a stuffed living room chair was likely the cause of the fire.

Bryan Beverly said someone was ringing doorbells to wake the neighbors.

"He rang my doorbell. By the time I came out, I saw him running next door and then eventually when I came out I saw him. He was asking me, 'Is there anyone in there?'" said Beverly.

Firefighters said after a quick entry and rapid search they found Beerheide, who lived alone in the house.

"He was located in and around the living room area and quickly evacuated from the building," said Deputy Chief Paul Shatraw.

Beerheide was unconscious when firefighters found him, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"He was kind of quiet, he kept to himself, didn't have too many visitors. It's tragic, especially around this time," Beverly said.

The deputy fire chief said it appears that the fire was going for some time before it was reported. Firefighters had the flames under control in about 15 minutes.

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