Fire Marshal Unable to Identify Cause of Fatal January Townhome Fire

The January fire at 1527 Aspen Drive killed 33-year-old Roger Yarusso and injured his two roommates.

Investigators were unable to determine the cause of a January townhome fire that left one person dead and two others injured in Eagan.

Eagan Fire Marshal Darrin Bramwell said extensive damage to the home made it impossible for fire investigators to conclusively identify the source of the fire, which began around 6 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Two occupants of the townhome, Alan Marty and Matthew Haggerty, were injured when they leapt from a second-story window to escape the flames. . Yarusso's death was the first fire-related fatality in Eagan since 2004.

Fire investigators believe the fire began in a first-floor living room, where the damage was heaviest. The small room was packed with possible ignition sources, Bramwell said, including numerous appliances, a rope light and a candle that may have been left burning the night of the fire. Furniture and plastic shelving in the room likely served as a convenient fuel source for the fire, once ignited, Bramwell said.

"There were multiple ignition sources that we were unable to rule out," Bramwell said. "There was a lot of fuel load in there."

Bramwell said the townhome unit where the fire started was a total loss, but that attached units only suffered minor damage. Although city officials closed their inquiry, the insurance company and condo association continue to investigate, Bramwell said.

"There's just nothing there, everything was fully burnt," Bramwell said.

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