Fatal Fire Update 04 Jan 12


A fire on Christmas Eve in which a Hutchinson woman was found dead, has been ruled accidental.

An Investigator with the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office, has ruled the fire as “Accidental – improper disposal of smoking materials” and the cause for 58-year-old Mary Schmeling’s death as “smoke inhalation”.

She was found dead in her duplex at 1162 Fairway Avenue just before 9pm on Saturday, December 24th after smoke was reported coming from the building.

Authorities say there was fire and smoke damage to her portion of the duplex and smoke damage to the adjoining residence.

Officials say originally there had been one smoke detector in the home, but had been removed. Schmeling’s death was the 50th fire related fatality in Minnesota in 2011.

The Hutchinson Fire Department reminds everyone to take a couple of minutes to test and make sure that they have working smoke detectors in their homes.