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Fatal Horace fire ruled accidental

HORACE, N.D. - Investigators have determined a house fire that claimed the life of a Horace man Tuesday was accidental.

Horace, West Fargo and Davenport fire crews were dispatched around 1:15 p.m. to 610 Willow Court, where neighbors reported seeing smoke emanating from the house.

The fire had gone out on its own by the time crews arrived.

The victim, who was in his late 20s, was found in the basement, where investigators say the fire started, said Capt. Rick Majerus of the Cass County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators believe the victim could have died from smoke inhalation, Majerus said.

The victim's body was transported to Bismarck for an autopsy. His identity is expected to be released today.

The fire was deemed not intentional, and investigators ruled out foul play after finding nothing suspicious, Majerus said.

"They didn't find anything out of the ordinary or anything that didn't look the way it was supposed to look in the home," he said.

It could have been started by smoking materials - such as cigarettes, matches or candles, Majerus said.

The home sustained heavy smoke damage from the fire, he said.