MICHIGAN CITY — An Indiana State Prison inmate burned to death nearly a month ago could have started the fire by doing unauthorized electrical work in his cell, a prison official said.
In a release issued Wednesday, ISP superintendent Ron Neal reported the cause of the April 9 blaze was determined an accident.
The origin of the fire claiming the life of Joshua Devine was along the western wall of the cell in, on, or around the television, said Neal.
Neal also referred to reports from both the Indiana State Fire Marshal's office and LaPorte County coroner's office that stated "the decedent may have been altering electrical equipment in his cell."
The ruling was based on physical evidence found at the scene along with witness accounts and after other potential sources had been ruled out as a possibility, prison officials said.
"The reasonable probability of an electrical event occurring in the area of origin could not be eliminated as the cause of this fire," Neal stated in the release.
Devine, 30, died of thermal burns, according to LaPorte County Coroner Bob Cutler.
Cutler said burns covered 100 percent of his body and death was immediate, judging by a lack of smoke in his lungs.
Devine had been at the prison since March 2016 and was serving a 16-year sentence for attempted robbery out of Marion County.