WICHITA — The man who died in a duplex fire in west Wichita early Sunday morning has been identified as 62-year-old Curtis Taylor, fire officials said.
The fire was reported in the 500 block of North Edwards at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, Capt. Stuart Bevis said. A man who lived in one half of the duplex awoke to the smell of smoke, and when he went to investigate he discovered smoke coming out of the other side of the duplex.
"The exact cause is still under investigation," Bevis said. "The fire appears to be accidental in nature."
Bevis said it's quite possible that Taylor was smoking in bed and then fell asleep, but investigators are also checking to see if a cell phone charger plugged in next to the bed may have shorted out.
"That's always a possibility," Bevis said.
Taylor is the fourth person to die in a fire this year, Bevis said. In three of them, careless smoking was confirmed or suspected as the cause.
Sunday's fire caused an estimated $60,000 in damage to the duplex — $50,000 to the structure and $10,000 to the contents, Bevis said.