3 State Patrol employees died of smoke inhalation

  • Thu Aug 19th, 2010 6:25am
  • News

Associated Press

ZILLAH — The Yakima County coroner says the three Washington State Patrol employees killed in a house fire near Zillah died of smoke inhalation.

Coroner Jack Hawkins said autopsies conducted Wednesday found no sign of foul play. He said the three suffocated in the fire early Monday.

Killed were 55-year-old Trooper Gary Miller, his 54-year-old wife Anne Miller-Hewitt and a 30-year-old patrol rookie, Trooper Kristopher Sperry.

Miller-Hewitt headed the agency’s emergency call center in Wenatchee.

The fire destroyed the Millers’ home. Sperry was living there temporarily while his home was built. He was a native of Eureka, Mont.

Yakima County sheriff’s Chief of Detectives Stew Graham said investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Graham and the coroner said the bodies were found in the basement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the three died there. The home’s floors collapsed in the fire.

Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, www.yakimaherald.com