Fargo man likely died before being burned in February basement fire
FARGO — A fire in a Fargo home where a man was found dead was likely accidental and started after the man died of natural causes, according to investigators.
Ronald Alvin Gant, 61, was found dead and badly burned in the basement of a Fargo home, 1809 30th Ave. S., on Feb. 22, when the homeowner returned from a vacation to a house filled with smoke.
Fire officials later found that heat from unattended smoking materials on a side table near Gant were the source of the fire, and found no evidence of foul play. An earlier report said there was no evidence of smoking in the home, but later investigators would find a cigarette lighter, tweezers and an item that resembled a pipe.
The fire report doesn't say exactly how Gant died, but describes the cause as "natural." Fire officials found no evidence of Gant attempting to escape the fire and his burns are described as happening after he died.
Investigators didn't find any evidence of someone forcibly entering the house.
Gant, who was living with the property owner, served nearly 30 years in prison for stabbing his wife to death in Grand Forks in 1982.
He pleaded guilty in 1983 to murdering his wife, Mary Louise Gant, and was sentenced to 43 years in prison. He was released in 2011.