House Fire

A cigarette falling into a chair cushion is blamed for a fire that killed one person at 1516 S. Coolidge Ave. late Wednesday.

MASON CITY | One person died and another was injured as the result of a house fire Wednesday night at 1516 S. Coolidge Ave. in Mason City.

Homeowner Jesse Pierce, 62, died after being taken by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, according to a press release from the Mason City Fire Department. 

Cherie McClemons, 59, who lived with Pierce, was taken to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa and later transferred to University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City.

A condition report for McClemons wasn't available Thursday. 

Police officers first arrived on the scene around 11:22 p.m. Wednesday. After forcing open a door on the south side of the house, they discovered Pierce on the floor. 

Firefighters found McClemons unconscious on her bedroom floor.  

Officials believe the fire started in a recliner in the living room, sparked by a cigarette that fell from an overturned ashtray into the seat cushion and arm of the chair. 

A neighbor reported the fire, according to the press release.

A spokesperson for the Fire Department said the home had smoke detectors but they didn't have batteries. 

Firefighters remained on scene until 2:35 a.m. Thursday. 

— John Skipper, Ashley Miller


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