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Victim of Sterling house fire identified

Neighbor: House had been abandoned for about a year

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 3:43 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 10:01 p.m. CDT
(SVM file photo)
Sterling Fire stands by Tuesday morning as State Fire Marshal Arson Investigator Kenny Arnold and K-9 Dollar come out of a burned-out home on West Seventh Street. The body found inside has been identified as that of John Ennells, 58, of Sterling.

STERLING – The body found inside a fire-ravaged duplex at 204 W. Seventh St. early Tuesday has been identified as that of John Ennells, 58, of Sterling.

No foul play is suspected in his death, officials said, and the fire appears to have started accidentally.

Firefighters took about 40 minutes to control the fire after they responded to a call just after 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

No new information was available Wednesday about the fire's cause, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Dettman said. The investigation is being conducted by the state fire marshal's office.

According to one neighbor, the duplex had been abandoned for about a year.

Ennells' body was found in a second-floor bedroom of the vacant three-story home.

Another neighbor, Edward Bailey, lives in a house across the street. He said that last winter, Ennells had a generator running in the building, but this year he didn't. Bailey said he didn't know how Ennells kept warm.

"I think he was unemployed," Bailey said. "He was always riding a bike."

Bailey said that on a number of occasions, Ennells had fixed his car, and that the two had had beers on the porch of the duplex.

"This was probably an accident," Bailey said.

This was the fifth structure fire that local firefighters responded to within a week.

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