Windermere fire victim drew complaints over smoking

Michael Mitchell was seen rushing back into apartment with fire extinguisher

Posted 11/30/18

The man who died in a Nov. 17 fire at the Windermere apartments in Littleton had drawn complaints for smoking inside his unit, according to a police report. Michael Mitchell, 70, was found dead in …

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Windermere fire victim drew complaints over smoking

Michael Mitchell was seen rushing back into apartment with fire extinguisher

Posted

The man who died in a Nov. 17 fire at the Windermere apartments in Littleton had drawn complaints for smoking inside his unit, according to a police report.

Michael Mitchell, 70, was found dead in his first-floor apartment after the early-morning blaze. The fire forced the evacuation of the 130-unit senior apartment tower at 5829 S. Datura St. At least 14 others were injured, including six police officers.

Littleton fire investigators ruled the fire accidental, but have not yet determined the specific cause. Mitchell's cause and manner of death were not yet available on Nov. 30, according to the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.

Windermere management was aware of complaints from residents that Mitchell smoked cigarettes inside his unit, which was a violation of the complex's rules, according to the report. Mitchell had only lived at the apartment for a month or so, the report says.

A witness saw a man she later identified as Mitchell in the hall moments after the fire broke out “with grease on his face,” according to the report.

The witness said she asked the man what he was doing, and he said “something to the effect of `I was working.' ”

Mitchell instructed the woman to pull a fire extinguisher off the wall and hand it to him before “disappearing down the hall,” the report said.

Emergency responders later found Mitchell dead in his apartment, face down in a back bedroom. Investigators found a fire extinguisher in the living room area across from the fire's apparent origin point.

“Nothing appeared suspicious,” according to the report.

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