Man killed in early morning fire

January 5, 2008 6:42:04 PM PST
A man killed in a fire that burned a three-story house in Berkeley early this morning has been identified as 61-year-old Richard Dury, according to the Alameda County coroner's bureau.

The fire in the hillside house at 1156 Keith Ave. was reported at 2:26 a.m. and was under control 2.5 hours later.

Dury was found dead in a bathroom on the house's second story, Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Gil Dong said. The cause of his death has not been determined.

A man, unrelated to Dury, who was living in the house was treated for minor injuries at a hospital after he jumped out of one of the windows to escape the fire, Dong said. The man was released from the hospital today.

Fire officials believe that the cause of the fire was accidental, but will not rule on the exact cause until Monday, Dong said. Residents in the area did not have power at the time of the fire, which is being considered in the investigation, Dong said.

The fire appears to have originated on the lowest level of the house, down the hillside from the entrance and garage that are on the top level, Dong said.

Fire investigators have not been able to confirm if the house was equipped with smoke alarms, but have not received reports of any alarms sounding, Dong said.

The man injured in the blaze awoke to the fire, without hearing an alarm, before he escaped, Dong said.

Damage caused by the fire has been estimated at about $800,000, but the fire caused enough damage for the house to be called a total loss, according to Dong.