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Coroner releases name of victim of Wednesday blaze in Buckhorn
BUCKHORN, Mo. (May 28, 2009) — Pulaski County Coroner Mikel Hartness announced Thursday morning that one person died in Wednesday morning’s mobile home fire in Buckhorn.

The victim was John Leland Michael, 49, of Buckhorn. Release of the name was delayed pending notification of out-of-state relatives.

“The autopsy has been completed and the preliminary finding was death was due to smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning,” Hartness said.

The fire investigation continues, according to Waynesville Rural Fire Chief Doug Yurecko, but there’s no reason to believe the fire had a suspicious origin.

“It looks like the fire began in the back bedroom,” Yurecko said. “There is heat and smoke damage throughout the whole trailer, but most of the fire damage was confined to the back bedroom and the bathroom.”

Michael had been a distributor for the Springfield-based Ozark News company, Yurecko said, delivering newspapers, magazines and books on a wholesale basis to various retail outlets.

Reports of a second fire victim are not correct, Yurecko said. Nobody else was in the mobile home at the time of the fire, and nobody else was living there on a regular basis.

“At one time, I believe his mother did live there, but she passed away some time ago as far as I know and he was the only one in the trailer,” Yurecko said.

Michael had two family pets, both dogs. One dog died in the mobile home but the other was not in the home at the time of the fire. Michael’s body was found in the bedroom where the fire appears to have started, Yurecko said.

The mobile home had no insurance. It was considered a total loss with an estimated value of $30,000.

According to an online obituary posted at Waynesville Memorial Chapel, the funeral for Michael will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 29, at the funeral home with visitation preceding from 11 a.m. until the time of the funeral. Burial of Michael, who was a Navy veteran, will be held with military honors in the Idumea Cemetery following the funeral.

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