BLUE EARTH — Two men who died in a Blue Earth house fire early Sunday appear to have been overcome by smoke following a night of partying, Faribault County authorities said.
The home's owner Rudy Carmona, 39, and his cousin Fidel Bello, 47, of Elmore, were found in the living room after firefighters arrived on the scene about 5 a.m.
Faribault County Chief Deputy Scott Adams said lightning is the suspected cause of the fire. The home had no functioning smoke alarms.
Adams said evidence at the scene suggests lightning may have traveled from a satellite dish down into the wiring of the house.
The men reportedly were celebrating Cinco de Mayo with others at the house Saturday night but were the only people remaining there when the fire occurred.
Adams said firefighters knocked down the blaze quickly.
Next door neighbor Donna Bussinger said her daughter was awakened about 4:40 a.m. by the fire's glow outside her window and telephoned for help.
Bussinger said no one in her home heard anything that sounded like a lightning strike. Vinyl siding on the Bussinger home was damaged by the intense heat.
Bussinger said Carmona had lived next door about two years and has been a good neighbor. He operated Rudy's Roofing in Blue Earth, wintered in Mexico and had just built a home there, Bussinger said.
The bodies were taken to Ramsey County for autopsies.
This was the second fatal-fire incident in Blue Earth in recent months. In January a house fire originating from a wood-burning stove killed a 57-year-old woman.