News-Sun photo by CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY The residence at No. 1 Meadowlake Circle N., off of Holmes Avenue in Greater Lake Placid, burned to the ground Monday morning. Riley Smith, 58, the lone occupant at the time, was killed.
published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Fire claims life of Lake Placid man
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
LAKE PLACID — Riley Smith, 58, died during a fire at No. 1 Meadowlake Circle North early Monday morning, the Highlands County Sheriff’s office confirmed later in the day. The entire house burned to the ground.
Smith, who lived with his wife at the address, was the only one home at the time of fire.
The original emergency call was received by dispatchers at about 3:43 a.m. when a neighbor called to say the house was on fire and completely engulfed in flames. The Highlands Park Volunteer Fire Department, Highlands County deputies and a Lake Placid police officer responded. According to the HCSO, the deputies arrived within four minutes, the fire department 13 minutes later.
Riley’s remains were discovered after the fire had been put out.
Shirely Mason, who lives one community to the south of Meadowlake, came by to see what was left of the house she witnessed burn to the ground. Mason said she was sitting on her patio at about 4 a.m. having a cup of coffee, when she noticed smoke. At first she thought there was a fire on her immediate street, then she saw it was further away, but probably still in the park.
There was a sudden bang. “It sounded like a car’s backfire,” she said, and suddenly “smoke was going everywhere.”
About to run to the phone to call 911, she saw flashing lights approaching, “one truck, then another and another,” she said. She shook her head. “It went in a hurry,” she said, referring to the building.
According to Chief Deputy Mark Schrader, Sheriff’s Office detectives, assisted by fire and arson investigators with the State Fire Marshall’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire and death.
Anyone with information about this incident is requested to contact Detective Tyrone Tyson at the HCSO criminal investigations unit, 402-7250. Anyone with information who wants to remains anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477), or on the Internet at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com/.
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