Victim identified from fatal blaze at Fruitvale home

The man who died in a Fruitvale house fire early Saturday was identified Sunday as 45-year-old Bruce Wayne Staats.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office completed an autopsy on Staats, ruling his death an accident and confirming he died from thermal burns.

A family dog died, and two other people inside the house at 3034 Gunnison Ave. suffered smoke inhalation. Two other dogs survived.

Coroner’s officials said Staats was found in a room of the home referred to by family as his “man cave.”

Grand Junction fire investigators said Saturday they were having trouble determining the cause of the fire because of its intense heat. There was no further word Sunday about the cause.

Investigators sent samples from the fire to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.


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