MERRILLVILLE — A man who died in a fire in an RV parked outside his home Saturday night was self-isolating from his family after recently traveling amid the COVID-19 outbreak, local authorities confirmed.
It's unknown if the victim — Jason Morris, 37, of Merrillville — was exhibiting symptoms of the respiratory disease or if he was self-quarantining in the RV out of an abundance of caution, Merrillville police Cmdr. Jeff Rice said.
"What was reported to us is that he was keeping himself separate from family members because of recent travel," Rice said.
The Merrillville police and fire departments are working with the Indiana state fire marshal on the investigation.
Merrillville Fire Chief Ed Yerga said no foul play is suspected. He said while the fire remains under investigation, the preliminary cause appears to be a "failure of equipment."
The fire gutted the RV and damaged the home in the 5400 block of Georgia Street. Morris was found dead inside the RV parked in the driveway after fighters doused the flames, according to fire officials and the Lake County coroner's office.
Merrillville firefighters responded to the scene at 11:40 p.m. and found the RV engulfed.
Yerga said the fire also spread to the home's eaves. The fire was extinguished within about 20 minutes, Yerga said.
Morris' cause and manner of death were pending further investigation, a coroner's news release stated.
Crown Point, Gary and Lake Ridge firefighters assisted at the scene.