Body found in Provo apartment fire
Janice Peterson - Daily Herald
A fire that broke out at a Provo apartment complex on Wednesday left one resident dead.
Fire officials responded to a call at 12:20 p.m. from resident Cyral Neeley of the apartments at 511 N. 100 West. Battalion chief Lynn Schofield said Neeley, who lived on the second floor, complained about smoke coming from his light fixture and said that the ceiling was hot to the touch.
When fire officials arrived on the scene, they found a third-floor unit on fire and one victim inside the unit. Schofield said the victim was dead when paramedics arrived, and they did not attempt resuscitation.
Schofield said it appears the resident died in the fire, not before, and he declined to identify the victim while family members are notified.
The fire is still under investigation, but Schofield said nothing has been found yet that is inherently suspicious.
"As far as accelerant, no, I don't think there was accelerants," he said.
Schofield said occupants from six of the eight units will be able to return home tonight, while the victim's apartment sustained significant damage in the bedroom and into other rooms. Neeley, who lived below the victim and reported the fire, is also unable to return home at this time, as an approximately two-foot wide hole was burned through the ceiling.
Neeley said he initially called his management company when he felt heat coming from the ceiling in his bedroom. The ceiling burned him when he touched it, Neeley said, and he called 911 when smoke started coming through by the light fixture. He smelled smoke earlier, but Neeley said he has smelled similar odors before, so he didn't think much of it.
"I'm glad I called the fire department," he said. "I didn't really expect anything to happen."
Neeley said he is usually gone at work during the day, so it is lucky he was home when the fire occurred. He didn't know the victim well, he said, and Neeley said he wished he and other neighbors had been in better contact with the victim.
"I just wish we would have kept better tabs on him," he said.
Jonathan Boyer, who lives across the hall from the victim, said he knows the victim as Doug, but he does not know his last name. They knew each other a little, but Boyer said the victim had become withdrawn after losing his job and his family to divorce.
"Ever so slightly, he got worse and worse and less active in the community," Boyer said.
Boyer said his neighbor was generous and kind to everyone he met. Boyer gave him a ride now and then to odd jobs, but he said he also wishes he had been closer to the victim during a difficult time.
"It makes you regret not doing more for him, because he was so nice to everyone around him," he said.
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