LOVELAND, Colo. - Smoking materials ignited a fire that killed two people in a mobile home near Loveland early Thursday, authorities said.
Hazel Piper, 70, and Harvard Preston Thomas, 50, died when the mobile home they shared burned just after midnight Thursday morning, according to a joint investigation by Loveland Fire Rescue Authority and Larimer County Sheriff's Office.
Heavy smoke and flames were visible when firefighters arrived to the trailer home at 1212 Butte Road.
An autopsy conducted Friday by the Larimer County Coroner's Office found that both victims suffered smoke inhalation, and that Thomas also had burn injuries that contributed to his death.
Loveland firefighters removed both victims from the burning home and assisted Valley Emergency Medical Services with their treatment, but the couple died at the scene, said Tom Hacker, spokesman for the Loveland Fire Department. Three pets also died in the fire.
The home was equipped with a smoke detector, but the unit was not working because its battery had been disconnected, Hacker said in a news release.
"The incident underscores the need for all residents to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes," Hacker said.