The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 9, 2011

Body found at hotel ID’d

Smoke inhalation from fire suspected cause of death

OTTUMWA — Investigators have released the name of a man who died Wednesday at a local motel.

Frederick Eaton, 48 of Ottumwa, was found by Ottumwa Fire Department personnel after they received word of a fire around 11 a.m. at the Royal Rest Motel on Roemer Avenue.

Firefighters discovered a small but smoky fire in one of the motel rooms, according to a statement from the city of Ottumwa Public Information Office.

The OFD confirmed on Thursday that the cause of the fire was “an improperly discarded cigarette.”

Though a local firefighter said he suspects the death came as a result of smoke inhalation, investigators say the official cause of death remains undetermined pending an autopsy by the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

Frederick Eaton’s obituary is in today’s paper.

Dangerous time for fires

A second smoking-related death this year prompted a reminder from Ottumwa’s new fire investigator.

Deputy Chief Cory Benge is Ottumwa’s fire marshal. He said smokers need to make certain their cigarette is out before they lay down for a nap.

“When we leave [the scene] of a fire, we don’t just go when there’s no more smoke, we make sure the fire is out,” he said.

Smokers need to do that, too. And placing the butt somewhere besides an ash tray can be dangerous as well. In the most recent case, the cigarette rolled off a table onto some clothing, which, after catching fire, lit the table on fire, too.

In the previous smoking related fire death, a patient may have become complacent, thinking they’d never had a problem smoking before, even though they were on oxygen. The fire marshal said the patient had a sign on their door that read, “No smoking. Oxygen in use.”

Smoking while using oxygen led to their death, Benge said.  

He said he shared these examples because they could help save a life.

“We hate to see fire-related deaths,” he said.

Anything else that could help Ottumwans?

“Yes, actually, now, with the weather getting cold, we [worry about] space heaters; every year we have fires related to heaters,” Benge said. “Turn them off before you go to bed, keep them three feet away from combustibles, and make sure it’s the kind that turns off if tipped over.”

This also makes a very good time to go check the smoke detectors, he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Graham's presentation A sweet history lesson OTTUMWA — In one of the most popular monthly presentations the Wapello County Historical Society has ever hosted, it was standing-room only to hear the history of Graham Milk and Ice Cream Company and try some of the popular product. A landmark in Ot

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ready, set, shop! OTTUMWA — Iowa's government says businesses must participate in the Tax-Free Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Store manager Greg Martin isn't complaining. "It’ll be much busier [than typical weekends]. Back to school is the second busiest season nex

    July 31, 2014

  • LCL scholarship recipients Supporting the health care future of the community OTTUMWA — For several area college students, Thursday afternoon was a chance to put names and faces with the thousands of scholarship dollars they have just received. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation hosted a reception to honor the 25 college s

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0801 OTT DMV new building exterior -M Ottumwa's DMV station ready to move OTTUMWA — If you believe you'll need to visit the driver's license station next month, you may want to write this down: 2849 N. Court St., Suite B. That'll be the new address for the Iowa DMV's office, which is currently located across from the Fairf

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0801 OTT Five Things logo -L T Five things to do in southeast Iowa OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer in a variety of ways and in several communities this weekend. Many towns are holding festivals, shows and events all centered around the summer theme, so head out while it's warm. 1. "Summer Shorts" is the Davis County Play

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook