Tragedy struck a South Ogden neighborhood early Sunday as the body of a young man was found in the basement of a burning house.

Neighbors near 745 Nancy Drive called 911 about 7:50 a.m. when they saw heavy black smoke coming from the chimney, said South Ogden Police Sgt. Bill Wentland.

The first responding firefighters quickly determined the fire was in the basement of the home. That's where they discovered the body of 26-year-old Michael West.

Although parts of West's body were burned, the State Medical Examiner was expected to determine this week the exact cause of death.

"Smoke inhalation could have contributed to his death," Wentland said.

Crews were able to put the fire out quickly. Investigators believe it started in the basement but not in exactly the same area where the victim was found, he said.

The cause of the fire was not determined Sunday, but Went- land said there was "no reason to suspect foul play from the outside at this point."

West lived with his parents who were out of town Sunday when the fire started. West's father has been a volunteer firefighter with South Ogden for over 20 years, and many of those responding to his house Sunday knew his son.

"It was very emotional for them," Wentland said.

News of West's death was also hard on neighbors.

"Still makes me sick, finding out it's the boy just made it worse. I don't know why. I guess 'cause he's so young," Carol Warner told KSL-TV.

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Warner said she also felt horrible for West's parents.

"Oh, my heart goes out to them. I can't think of anything worse for a parent than to lose a child," she said.

There was no damage estimate from the fire available Sunday although Wentland said most of the damage was from the smoke, especially in the basement.


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