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Smoking in bed likely cause of fatal Penticton motel fire
Smoking in bed likely sparked the fire that killed a woman last summer in a Penticton motel room, a coroner’s investigation has determined.
Kimberly Lynn Lakey, 27, died late on Aug. 15, 2013, in her room at the Jubilee Motel, where she’d been staying for three months, coroner Jed Maddock wrote in his report, which was released publicly this week.
Fire investigators found an open pack of cigarettes on the bed, an unlit cigarette between two pillows, and cigarette butts throughout the unit, plus several spent matches at the foot of the bed.
Also at the foot of the bed was an upright box spring that appeared to have been used as a room divider, Maddock wrote, and that’s where the fire is believed to have started.
Most of the heat damage in the room was found on the ceiling above the foot of the bed, while investigators found evidence that unattended smoking material likely began smoldering between the end of the bed and the upright box spring.
“The smouldering material would have caused a great deal of smoke and carbon monoxide inside the sealed motel unit,” Maddock wrote, adding that fire officials believe the blaze extinguished itself after it burned up all available oxygen in the room.
Lakey’s body was found just inside the door of the suite.
Maddock also noted that a smoke detector inside the room wasn’t functioning and that motel management said tenants often disconnected the devices.
Based on toxicology tests, the coroner concluded the cause of Lakey’s death was carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation, but he also listed “a high level of intoxication” from illicit drugs as a contributing factor.
Lakey’s body reportedly contained an amount of methamphetamine and amphetamine “in the toxic range but slightly below the lethal range.”
Maddock ruled the death an accident and made no recommendations.