PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A 72-year-old Central Peoria man was identified as the person who died in a house fire early Thursday morning.
According to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood, autopsy results indicated that Don L. Watson suffered severe smoke inhalation and burns covering over 95% of his body. Results from toxicology tests are pending, he said, would likely have no bearing on his cause of death.
According to the Peoria Fire Department, the fire started in the bedroom of the one-story house. Firefighters were called just before 7 a.m. and managed to put out the fire within minutes.
A firefighter suffered an injury to his elbow, the chief said, when he heard a “twisting or a popping sound.” The other injury was to a neighbor who was breaking out glass at the victim’s home, in an attempt to warn the man inside. He was cut by glass, Sollberger said.
A dog was also found in the structure and was transported to the Emergency Veterinary Hospital for treatment.
A cause for the fire has not been publicly released. Watson’s death was the city’s first fire-related fatality since 2021.
This case remains under investigation by the fire department and the coroner’s office.