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Dropped cigarette blamed in fatal fire

SANTA CLAUS, Ind. – State police say a fatal house fire in a southern Indiana town began after a woman with a disability dropped a cigarette.

Police said 65-year-old Bryan Gregory died Friday when fire gutted his home in a gated community in Santa Claus, about 40 miles northeast of Evansville.

Gregory’s 66-year-old wife Maureen Gregory was able to escape. Police said Bryan Gregory apparently passed out from smoke inhalation as he tried to get out of the burning house.

Maureen Gregory was airlifted to a Louisville, Ky., hospital with first degree burns and smoke inhalation. Police said she was listed in stable condition.

Investigators believe the fire was started accidentally when Maureen Gregory dropped a cigarette in the living room and was unable to bend over to pick it up.

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