Faulty wiring has been identified as the cause of a fatal house fire in Ketchikan yesterday morning.

Fire Chief Abner Hoage said a report of the fire at 2112 First Avenue came in a little after 7 a.m. Monday, and fire crews responded within about five minutes. He said the crews talked to bystanders.

“They had seen a man entering the home the previous evening, so the crews made immediate entry and conducted a search for the occupant, and during their search of the main floor, they did locate a deceased victim,” he said.

The man could not be positively identified at the scene, and Hoage said the remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner in Anchorage.

Ketchikan Fire Department officials have determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical wiring problem.

“It started in the living room area,” Hoage said. “We think that it probably smoldered for quite a long time before it was discovered.”

The living room area also is where the man’s body was found.

Hoage said there was one smoke detector in the home, but the battery had been removed.  He stressed the importance of a functional smoke detector.

“They provide early warning to fire, especially when there’s a lot of smoke being produced, but not a lot of fire, which we believe to be the case here,” he said. “So, having working smoke detectors in your home, that you change the batteries on at least annually and test them monthly, will save your life.”

Hoag said Monday’s fire was under control in about 30 minutes. Crews stayed on scene for a few hours after to take care of potential hot spots.