Fire That Killed St. Thomas Student Caused By Cigarettes

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A house fire that killed a University of St. Thomas student and injured three was caused by “carelessly discarded smoking materials,” according to fire officials.

The fire, which began around 3:15 a.m. Dec. 11 at 1795 Selby Ave., killed 20-year-old Michael Larson, who was sleeping on a couch on the main floor.

St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said there were two containers on the front porch to put cigarette butts in and one was plastic. That container started on fire and spread throughout the home.

Zaccard said it took them a while to determine the exact cause of the fire because of other possibilities they needed to rule out.

Three people at the home awoke to smoke detectors and jumped out of second-story windows. They were treated for smoke inhalation and taken to Regions Hospital, mostly for injuries from the fall.

Firefighters tried to rescue Larson, but said he had already died.

All four victims were students at St. Thomas.

  • Geez

    Not everone that smokes at age 20 makes great decisions all of the time. Lighten up a little bit.

  • janna

    What an extremely nasty and hateful thing to say! That young man had his whole life ahead of him and a family who loves and misses him!

  • mike olson

    I belive this to be a real tragedy. Yet so much for these fire safe ciggarettes.

  • Mike's dad

    Mike did not smoke, some of his roomates did. Mike’s grandfather is mortally ill with COPD because of smoking and he detested cigarettes.

  • Julia

    I am not sure why it is written that ” 3 people awoke to a fire detector”. One person who jumped out the second story window clearly stated that he awoke to Mike’s yelling “Fire” repeatedly. Unfortunately, the journalist who wrote this information did not write this important fact.

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