Man died of smoke inhalation in Portage fire
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 16, 2013 3:00PM
Updated: May 18, 2013 6:42AM
PORTAGE — The Porter County Coroner’s Office ruled Tuesday that Nokomis Musenja, 43, died of smoke inhalation after a fire in the kitchen area of his home at 5652 Buttercup Ave.
Coroner Chuck Harris had said that Musenja died at the scene Monday. Musenja, who was disabled and used a wheelchair, was found in a hallway between the kitchen and the garage of his home when firefighters with the Portage Fire Department pulled him outside.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined, said Assistant Fire Chief Joe Calhoun, with the primary origin of the fire being in the kitchen/dining room area of the one-story home.
“Our working theory is that the victim saw the fire, attempted to put the fire out and was overcome by the smoke and fire. He then attempted to get out of the home on the other side of the kitchen where he was found,” Calhoun said.
Musenja’s mother had stopped to check on him. When she didn’t receive an answer at the door and noticed the smell of smoke coming from the locked residence, she called 911.
Firefighters received the call at 2:57 p.m. and arrived on the scene within six minutes, and found smoke coming from the home.
Most of the fire was contained to the kitchen.
No one else was home at the time of the fire and there were no additional injuries.
The Portage Fire Department Investigation Team and the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fire.