Try 1 month for 99¢

GALESBURG - A body found this week in a downtown building destroyed by fire more than three weeks ago has been identified as a 23-year-old Galesburg man who disappeared the night of the blaze, authorities said Thursday.

An autopsy showed Michael Olson died of smoke inhalation in the fire that leveled the former O.T. Johnson department store and a neighboring building, according to a statement from Galesburg's police and fire departments.

Olson was last seen leaving a tavern across the street from the burned building about a half-hour before fire fighters were called to the scene, authorities said. Investigators found his body Tuesday as crews cleared debris from the Jan. 23 fire.

The autopsy provided no evidence of foul play, authorities said. No signs of foul play have been uncovered so far during an investigation launched when Olson's family reported him missing the day after the fire.

Results of additional forensic and toxicology tests are expected within three weeks, authorities said. An investigation continues into both the fire and why Olson was in the building.

His body was identified through dental records and clothing.

Police chief John Schlaf said investigators have not determined the cause of the fire that destroyed the nearly 150-year-old building, which once hosted readings by poet Carl Sandburg and employed the father of President Ronald Reagan.

The store opened in 1860, and at its peak it was one of the state's largest department stores outside of Chicago. It closed in 1978, and the building housed an antiques store before the fire.

0
0
0
0
0

Load comments