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Fire ruling awaits lab results

Tests could help determine the cause of a Floral City mobile home fire that killed two people.

By CARRIE JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 25, 2002

FLORAL CITY -- An investigator from the State Fire Marshal's Office is waiting for lab results before making a formal determination as to the cause of a fire that scorched a Floral City mobile home earlier this month, killing two people.

Lt. Gloria Perrotti said those results will reveal whether chemical accelerants were present during the June 16 fire, a routine test that is used in every investigation.

The State Medical Examiner's Office has positively confirmed the identities of the victims. They are Kathy Jane Thompson, 49, the owner of the mobile home at 7320 S Eastlake Drive, and Daniel Bolton, 30, who lived in Inverness.

A representative of the medical examiner's office said the official cause of death was listed as "inhalation of products of combustion," which means the victims died from breathing in smoke and other materials generated by a fire.

Perrotti said she has spent the past week analyzing the torched ruins of the mobile home and interviewing witnesses who could help piece together the circumstances that led to the blaze.

For example, Perrotti said she's talked to several people who have been in Thompson's residence recently to determine if the structure had working smoke detectors.

"That's something we're very interested in knowing," Perrotti said.

The fire started in the living room at the front of the 550-square-foot home and spread to the rear, where the bodies were found, Perrotti said.

She said she's still trying to determine why Bolton and Thompson were unable to escape the mobile home. "That's a goal for all the investigators," Perrotti said.

According to friends and family members, Bolton and Thompson were together earlier in the evening at Sarge and Skip's, an Inverness bar.

Bolton's mother, Lila Sokol, said her son and Thompson were good friends. Sokol said she did not believe they had a romantic relationship.

Bolton was nicknamed "Sleepy" for his ability to fall soundly asleep almost anywhere, according to his mother.

A neighbor was awakened by the fire about 6 a.m. and dialed 911. It took firefighters approximately 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

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