Public Safety

Authorities identify two found dead at scene of Keystone fire

Home is a total loss; cause still under investigation

Smoke still rises from the remaining debris of a fatal house fire at 6682 16th Avenue in Keystone on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Smoke still rises from the remaining debris of a fatal house fire at 6682 16th Avenue in Keystone on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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KEYSTONE — Authorities have identified two people killed Tuesday in a fire near Keystone.

According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and crews from Keystone, Van Horne and Garrison fire-rescue were called at 1:53 a.m. to a house fire at 6682 16th Ave. The residence is in rural Benton County north of Keystone.

Firefighters said the home was engulfed in flames when they arrived and the fire was brought under control after an hour.

When crews searched the home, they found the bodies of Robert L. Michalec, 92, and his son, Allen L. Michalec, 69. Authorities said another occupant was able to escape the home, but required medical treatment.

After remaining on the scene for two hours to make sure the fire was extinguished, firefighters returned to the home in the afternoon when the fire rekindled.

Julie Michalec said her father and brother were “softhearted people.”

“Dad would do anything for anyone,” she said. “(Allen) never said ‘no’ to anybody.”

The home was determined to be a total loss. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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