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Fire units from the town of Bristol and Benton, Concord, Osolo and Elkhart townships responded to a fire around 7:15 a.m. Dec. 16, 2013, at 526N. Arbutus in Timberbrook Mobile Home Park. Two occupants died. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)
Officials say deadly Bristol fire was possibly started by discarded smoking material
Posted on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 27, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.

BRISTOL — The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department concluded its investigation on a fire in Bristol on Dec. 16, finding that the fire may have started because of an improperly discarded smoking material.

However, the investigation into the deaths of Cindy Kabay, 67, and her son, Chad Russell, 42, continues, according to a press release from the sheriff's department.

Kabay and Russell were found near the entrance of their residence at 526 N. Arbutus in Timberbrook Mobile Home Park, Undersheriff Sean Holmes said.

Crews from the Bristol Fire Department and four township fire departments were called to the scene of the fire at about 7 a.m. They were told two people were possibly trapped in the home.

Russell died of carbon monoxide poisoning, and Kabay died of natural causes related to a long history of health problems, according to the Elkhart County Coroner's office.

The sheriff's department and the state fire marshal's office were involved in the investigation because the incident involved fatalities.

According to the press release, the fire started in the southeast corner of the living room.

Holmes said that according to the fire marshal's office report, the fire was accidental, and although it is not possible to specifically say what caused it, all evidence indicates that the most likely factor to have started fire was “discarded smoking material.”

Medical oxygen tanks were also found in the home, but officials did not know if they contributed to the fire.

Holmes said the sheriff's department will not look at the incident as a criminal matter unless any other information comes out.

“The most important part for us is that it was not purposefully set,” he said. “And there is no information that it was suspicious at all.”