BLUE EARTH - A fatal house fire in Blue Earth early Sunday morning has Faribault County officials recommending that people check their smoke detectors.
Blue Earth Fire Department was called to the blaze at 914 E. First St. at 4:47 a.m. Firefighters found cousins Rudy Carmona, 39, of Blue Earth, and Fidel Bello, 47, of Elmore, dead on the living room floor of the burning residence.
"They were celebrating Cinco de Mayo," said Chief Deputy Scott Adams. "Everybody left and [Bello] decided to stay the night."
The house is "totaled," according to Adams. "There's just the four outside walls standing, no roof."
Autopsies were expected to be performed later Monday, said Mike Gormley, Faribault County sheriff. A toxicology screen is expected in 10 to 14 days.
The state fire marshal is still investigating the incident.
A contributing factor was the "terrible" storm that night, Adams said.
"The responding officer said there was bright lightning and a lot of cracks," he added.
"We suspect the fire started on the satellite dish with a lightning strike [on the northwest corner of the house]," Gormley said. "It started a fire and the fire spread. There were no smoke detectors."
Chief Deputy Scott Adams said if the house had just one smoke detector, the men would have had ample warning.
"We encourage people to check the batteries in their smoke detectors and get carbon monoxide detectors," Gormley said.
Assisting at the scene were Blue Earth Police Department, United Hospital Ambulance, and Winnebago Fire Department.