SANTAQUIN, Utah County — A man died Sunday in a RV fire believed to be caused by a turkey fryer.
Santaquin Police Chief Dennis Howard said he was called to the fire near 420 W. Main just before 3 a.m. Once the fire was put out, it was determined there was a body inside.
"We believe that he was asleep, or at least resting when the fire started and was unaware that it was going on until it was too late to get out," Howard said.
Police say they believe Tim Davis, 43, died in the fire but won't know for sure until DNA testing on the body is complete. Howard said it was determined that the fire was started by the burner portion of a deep fryer large enough for a turkey.
"The base of it was being used for heat," Howard said. "It lit the floor on fire. … It prevented his ability to escape."
The cause of death was smoke inhalation.
"It appears the victim attempted to make his way to the window, when he was overcome by smoke," Howard said.
The RV belonged to Davis' aunt, but "no one know he was staying in it," Howard said. It had been stored for the winter and its doors screwed shut. It is believed Davis forced his way in, police said. Neighbors say they'd seen him as recently as last week.
"Kind of gets me a little bit," said neighbor, Kelly Kunkel. "He was a good guy. He really was."
Kunkel said that for years Davis had helped to run the family-owned trailer park. More recently, he'd been in and out of the neighborhood.
But, warnings about turkey roasters and fires are nothing new. The flames can spread very quickly, and fires can start even without a turkey inside.
"That type of heater is not even to be used on concrete or in a garage," Howard said. "They're notorious for starting fires. They develop a tremendous amount of heat at the base. Definitely, not in an RV."
Davis' family declined comment. However, one family member insisted that they didn't know who was in the trailer, but police believe that it was Tim Davis. Positive identification could take two weeks to confirm.