By: Megan Stewart
Thirty-year-old Chris Meusburger of St. Paul was found dead inside his apartment on Glendale Street in St. Paul on Sunday morning. The medical examiner ruled smoke inhalation as the cause of death.
According to fire officials, his blood alcohol level was .26, “which may have caused impairment.”
The fire was determined to be unintentional, but fire officials are not ruling out careless smoking or an electrical cause.
The apartment building was fully-engulfed and smoke was billowing out of the rooftop Sunday morning. The smell of smoke was even detected inside the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS newsroom, nearly a mile away.
Residents were evacuated just after 4 a.m. and a search and rescue was conducted in the two-story building. Residents have since been let back into their apartments. However, two units have become uninhabitable following the blaze.
Firefighters believe Meusburger was sitting on the floor, already dead, when they arrived at the scene.
Fire officials said the only smoke detector in the apartment had been dismantled and put in a closet prior to the incident. Officials stress the importance of working smoke alarms to save lives. No other injuries have been reported.
Meusburger’s sister says she’ll remember him as a good man and great brother who loved his family.
This is the first fatal fire of 2014 in St. Paul.