ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Authorities say the garage fire that killed a man on the east side of St. Paul Thursday morning was likely caused by careless smoking.
Don Pnewski, 53, was trapped in the fire that spread rapidly through the free-standing garage he was using as a home.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Next Dose Of Snow Could Make For Commute Headaches
The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. on the 800 block of Juno Street. Shortly after they arrived the roof collapsed. St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said the blaze was not survivable.READ MORE: Archambault Lifts Coyotes Over Tommies 90-79
Pnewski died from smoke inhalation, according to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner.
Zaccard says it is a violation of St. Paul city code to live in your garage. Had inspectors known, Pnewski would have been ordered to leave.MORE NEWS: 'Hockey Party’: Hundreds Compete In Pond Hockey Tournament's Opening Weekend Finale
A half dozen friends said Pnewski had struggled for years with alcohol, that he had not worked a regular job in years and spent much of his days drinking with friends. But all remembered him as a kind man who offered to do jobs.