Homeowner ID’d as fire victim

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A Sedalia house-fire victim has been identified through DNA analysis as Henry Schendera, 66, of Sedalia, and the cause of death was determined to be carbon monoxide toxicity and the death was accidental, Douglas County Coroner Lora Thomas stated in a Sept. 11 email.

Schendera’s body was found after an early-morning Aug. 6 fire that leveled the home, but a positive identification was not made until recently, Thomas said.

A neighbor who is a volunteer firefighter reported the fire about 5 a.m. after that neighbor and others smelled smoke and went “to check it out,” Becky O’Guinn, South Metro Fire District spokeswoman, said at the time of the blaze.

Schendera’s home, located about a mile up a one-lane dirt road off Highway 67, was difficult to access and water wasn’t available. Water tankers were used to transport water from the Woodbine Ecology Center, which is about 1½ miles away from the home, as well as transporting water from other locations, was her understanding, O’Guinn said.

“The Douglas County Coroner’s Office would like to thank the Griffith, Ind., Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in determining through DNA analysis the identity of the fire victim,” Thomas said.

Thomas explained the Griffith Police Department was able to obtain a DNA sample from a Schendera relative in Indiana, the results of which enabled Thomas to positively identify the victim.