Fire that killed Japos founder Tony Hsieh, possibly ‘negligence,’ ‘intentional act’: caused by authorities

Connecticut fire investigators have released several hypotheses regarding the New London fire that killed Zapos founder Tony Hsieh at the end of last year and are considering whether possible misuse of candles, careless disposal of smoke or even Whether or not the explosion was caused by “an intentional act” was to be blamed by Hsieh “.

A 19-page incident report released Tuesday by the New London Fire Department described how many people, including Tony Hsieh and his brother Andrew, were staying at home on Peakoo Avenue when the fire broke out on November 3, shortly before 3:30 p.m. was. 18, 2020. Everyone except Tony Hesih was able to escape.

The report said the pool room had “trapped” Heshe, the shed’s doors that were “locked with a keypad deadbow style lockset.”

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According to the timeline provided by the fire department, Heshe and the group were scheduled to leave for Hawaii shortly after the fire and a limousine arrived to take them to the airport at around 3:20 p.m. . CEO Tony Hsieh judges the contestants during the fourth annual Las Vegas Halloween Parade on October 31, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller / Getty Image)

Heshih, 46, was living in a room like a shed after he and the homeowner and his rumored girlfriend, Rachel Brown, had an argument at around 11:30 the night before. He asked her to leave the property until they left for Maui, and Hsieh moved into the pool room.

The timeline shows that his friends were checking in on him every 10 minutes, when he told Heshih that it was time to leave at 3:20, he replied: “Five more minutes.”

But by 3:21 pm, the carbon monoxide detector’s alarm was activated. As of 3:24 pm, a camera positioned at the entrance of the shed had failed due to the fire, the timeline indicates. Fire Department called at 3:26 p.m.

A few minutes earlier, at 3:14 pm, officials said an accident could be heard inside the shed.

It takes six minutes from the first firetrack for responders to arrive for the report firing, Hesheh. When firefighters found him, he was “in a careless position on a blanket” inside the shed.

According to the report, Hesih “was positioned on the blanket to his left and his right arm was slightly protruding with his right arm,” the report states. “Heshih facing the two doors that were forced out into the open by firefighters.”

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A sketch released by the fire department shows that there are burning flames between Hesh and his only apparent exit. According to the report, candles, a marijuana pipe and cigarettes were found at the scene.

Authorities previously said his death was considered accidental and that smoking caused breathing problems.

The New London Fire Department sketch shows the approximate location of Tony Hesheh's body at the time of the fire.  (New London Fire Department)

The New London Fire Department sketch shows the approximate location of Tony Hasheh’s body at the time of the fire. (New London Fire Department)

The authority Allegedly Do not believe there was criminality involved, but said the cause of the fire is still undetermined. The report said investigators identified four possible hypotheses, including “the misuse of candles triggered this fire”.

“Several candles were found in and around the fire area,” the report states. It notes that one of the other people living in the house said that he checked in on Hesih around 1am and saw that “the candles are burning and one of the candles has set fire to a part of the blanket . “

The report states: “The fact that there were candles located in the area of ​​origin of the fire and the fact that there was a fire in a blanket about two hours before the fire broke out … improper use of the candles caused this Fire cannot be eliminated. “

The report states that one of the four hypotheses describes that the fire could have possibly been initiated by “reckless or even a deliberate act by Hesih”.


Investigators discovered a burnt plastic bag following which it burned post-notes located near the fire area, as well as a gray basket as well as a burnt paper.

Officers reviewed the video indicating that Heshih lit a plastic bag over the fire, officials said.

The report states that, “there is an indication of a fire pattern that could be the cause of this fire.”

Witnesses also told investigators that earlier in the night, they discovered a candle in the shed “close to Hsieh”.

The fire department also stated that “there is physical evidence to prove that Hsieh could have been impaired or intoxicated at the time of the fire.”

According to the report, officers discovered “several Whip-It brand nitrous oxide chargers and whipping cream dispensers, a marijuana pipe, and Fernet Branca liqueur bottles.” Investigators also found “a plastic bottle of tiki brand torch fuel” in the area.

“Drug intoxication can affect a person’s ability to recognize and react to fire hazards,” the report states.

Investigators also say the fire may have occurred when a propane heater “came into direct contact or ignited in proximity to heating elements with nearby combustible materials.” The report reported that the heater was placed near the door or near the storage stack and was “located in an area of ​​greatest thermal damage and major loss of material.”

“This thermal damage and large-scale loss of material is the result of a fire that has occurred in the area near / below the propane tank,” the report continues. “The fire heated the propane tank to a point when the relief valve was operated as designed [relieve] Pressure in tank. This caused propane to flow from the gas tank and came into contact with the open flame. “

The report also stated that one of the two heating elements was broken or removed and the assembly was “no longer attached to the carrying handle and was in a horizontal position with a reclining element on the carrying handle. . “

It describes how there is a “low percentage of probability” that the fire ignited in such a way but said the possibility cannot be eliminated.

Another hypothesis was that the fire was caused by “carelessly discarded smoking materials (either cigarettes or marijuana).”

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Investigators reported finding “several discarded cigarettes” in the area, in addition to marijuana pipes. But the report also describes how there is a “low percentage of probability” that the fire started this way.

A spokesman for Hesih’s family said they would not “comment because they are grieving.”

The spokesman said: “For now and for the foreseeable future, they are focused on their work to continue Tony’s legacy.”

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