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May 9, 2012 6:58 AM by Kate Richards

Deaths of victims in Jefferson CO wildfire ruled accidents

DENVER (AP) - Coroner's officials have ruled the deaths of three people in a fast-moving wildfire west of Denver in March as accidental.

Jefferson County coroner's officials say 77-year-old Sam Lucas and his 76-year-old wife, Linda Lucas, died from smoke-inhalation and exposure to flames.

Deputy Coroner Carl Blesch tells The Denver Post it's likely that smoke from the fire rendered the Lucases unconscious before flames reached them.

He says another victim, 51-year-old Ann Appel, died from exposure to the wildfire, but her exact cause of death couldn't be determined because of the condition of her remains.

The fire grew March 26 when embers from a controlled burn that was conducted days earlier by the Colorado State Forest Service flared up in high winds. The fire damaged 23 homes.

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