Investigators identify victim in fatal house fire in Gadsden

Etowah County Task Force at the scene of a fatal house fire on Cambron Street, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (

ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. -- An investigation is currently underway into a house fire in Etowah County after firefighters found a man dead inside the home Wednesday morning.

Investigators said 31-year-old Brandon Messer died early Wednesday in a house on Cambron Street.{} Gadsden fire chief Stephen Carroll said it appears{}the cause of death was{}smoke inhalation.

Fire and rescue crews responded to a fire{}emergency call shortly after 8:20 a.m.{} Carroll said there was no visible smoke or flames from the outside when firefighters arrived.{} They entered he house and discovered Messer's body in{}a back bedroom.

"I'm not sure if the individual was trying to fight the fire themselves to keep them down but when our units got there,{}the fire was pretty much what you would call out.{} There were a few hot spots that we were extinguishing, but the fire was out when we got there," Carroll said.

Investigators said{}Messer moved into the house Tuesday evening.{} The fire started in the living room at the front of the house, and investigators found gas lanterns in the room.{} Chief Carroll said it is unknown if the vMesser initially used the lanterns for lighting or heat.

No one else was home at the time of the fire, which the coroner and fire marshals believed started between midnight at 2 a.m.{} Investigators said some of the victim's friends or family arrived at the scene shortly after 8 a.m.

"They thought that this individual was inside, they weren't sure that the individual was inside," he said.{} "Maybe one of the relatives that came up, and smelled smoke or whatever when they got there."

In addition to Gadsden firefighters and the city's fire marshal, the Etowah County Arson Task Force and Alabama Fire Marshal's Office sent investigators to the scene.{} Carroll said the fire is currently considered accidental.

Neighbors at the scene told ABC 33/40 reporter Robert Richardson that they didn't think anyone was in the home.{}