house fire

Emergency crews were called around 9 a.m. Friday to 418 Riverside Drive for smoke in a basement. They found a deceased man sitting in a recliner in the living room, according to Omak Fire Chief Kevin Bowling.

OMAK – A smoky fire that was mostly confined to a chair ended up being deadly Jan. 3.

Omak firefighters were called around 9 a.m. to 418 Riverside Drive for smoke in a basement. They found a deceased man sitting in a recliner in the living room, said Chief Kevin Bowling.

The man has been tentatively identified as Ronald Johnson, 79, Omak, said Okanogan County Coroner Dave Rodriguez. Johnson’s next of kin was notified Friday, but a dental comparison will be done to confirm his identity.

The state odontologist, who has a portable X-ray machine, is scheduled to arrive Sunday to take dental images for comparison with Johnson’s records, Rodriguez said.

A dog also perished in the fire.

Rodriguez said smoking apparently was involved.

Bowling said the fire’s cause remains under investigation, although Johnson was a known smoker.

Fire damage was confined to the chair and the area around it, although there was smoke damage to the rest of the home’s main story, Bowling said. The blaze self-extinguished before firefighters arrived; some smoke made it into the basement.

The fire was reported by Johnson’s granddaughter, who also was his caretaker. She did not live with him, Bowling said.

Besides the Omak Fire Department, the Omak Police Department, LifeLine Ambulance and the Okanogan County Public Utility District also responded.

Riverside Drive was blocked between Locust and Maple streets while fire equipment was on scene.

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