Medical Examiner identifies victim in fatal fire

Damages to historic structure estimated at $100,000
Medical Examiner identifies victim in fatal fire

The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who died following an apartment fire Thursday morning at a historic building on the city’s East Side.

The medical examiner says Lee Hogenson, 36, of Madison, died in the fire.

The call came in at 3:30 a.m. Thursday for a fire at 2709 Sommers Avenue. When fire crews arrived, they found heavy, dark smoke coming from the eight-unit, two-story building.

Crews used thermal imaging to trace the fire to an apartment on the second floor.

Hogenson was found in the apartment and was taken to Meriter Hospital, where he later died.

“We know that it does not have to be a catastrophic fire; there does not have to be significant structural damage for it to be a fatal fire. As most people know, the leading cause of death in fires is virtually always complicated by smoke inhalation,” said Lori Wirth, spokeswoman for the Madison Fire Department.

Madison Fire Department investigators said they believe the fire began in the living room of the one-bedroom apartment. The victim was found in the bedroom at the opposite end of the apartment.

There were four other occupants in the building at the time of the fire. They all escaped unharmed. Occupants said smoke alarms in the building alerted them to the fire, according to a Madison Fire Department news release.

Investigators are working to secure the fire apartment so that all tenants may return to their residences for the night.

Investigators estimated damages to the historic structure at $100,000. The exact cause remains under investigation. 

Fatal fire hits East Side apartment complex

The structure at 2709 Sommers is also known as “Elmside,” a historic site dating back to the 1860s. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Officials said this is the first fire-related fatality in the city of Madison since August 2010, when a 46-year-old woman died in a fire at 524 E. Bluff.