Coroner identifies man who died in Olympia fire Wednesday

Staff writerMay 2, 2014 

The man who died Wednesday night in an apartment fire at the Capitol House Apartments on Olympia's west side has been identified as Kent A. Turner, 50, of Olympia.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Turner died of asphyxia from toxic combustible materials.

Olympia firefighters found Turner dead in his apartment after they responded to a fire there in his unit on the second floor about 7 p.m. Wednesday.

It took firefighters about 15 minutes to put out the blaze at the apartment at 420 Sherman Street.

The fire was confined mostly to the area of the apartment where Turner was sitting in his wheelchair, Olympia Fire Marshal Rob Bradley said Thursday. Turner was severely burned, and an ignition source has not been located, he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. By Thursday night, all of the other occupants of about 100 units in the Sherman Street building had returned to their homes.

Olympia fire investigator Lt. Brian Schenk said Friday that he hopes to learn more about how the fire may have started by performing a forensic exam on the remains of Turner's wheelchair. He also hopes the results of Turner's toxicology exam shed some light on how he may have died.

Turner was a smoker, but it is unknown whether a lit cigarette may have contributed to the fire, Schenk said.

The historic building where Turner lived is the former site of St. Peter Hospital. It was built around 1924. It was converted into apartments in 1971 after the hospital moved to its present location on Lilly Road.

 

 

 

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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