83°F
weather icon Clear

Tony Hsieh’s death ruled an accident, but investigation ongoing

Ex-Zappos Chief Executive Tony Hsieh died from complications of smoke inhalation in a death ruled an accident by the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Monday, but police and the local fire marshal said an investigation into the death is active and ongoing.

Initial radio dispatches to law enforcement and medical technicians about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 18 contained reports of both a man trapped in a waterfront home on fire and of a man barricaded in a structure.

New London Capt. Brian Wright, the commander of investigative police services, said in a statement that people at the scene informed emergency personnel that a man, later identified as Hsieh, “was locked inside a storage area where smoke was coming out at the rear of the residence, and they were unable to get him out.”

Emergency personnel breached the storage area door, retrieved the victim and extinguished the fire.

Hsieh, 46, was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to Bridgeport Hospital Burn Center for extensive medical care.

Investigators were notified Friday that Hsieh died at the hospital.

The police report on the incident was released Monday.

Hsieh had been in Connecticut with his brother, according to Megan Fazio, a spokeswoman for Hsieh’s business venture, DTP Companies.

The New London home, along the Thames River, is owned by Rachael Brown of Las Vegas, a longtime Zappos employee and a cellist with Nina Di Gregorio’s Bella Electric Strings ensemble and David Perrico’s Pop Strings orchestra.

She could not be reached for comment.

Brown’s neighbors were mum about the fire and police activity. A woman who answered next door politely declined to speak to a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter. The other neighboring home was dark and no one answered a knock.

The lights were on at Brown’s home, but furniture inside was covered and no one answered repeated knocks.

Across the street, a man told a reporter, nonchalantly: “I don’t know anything about those people.”

Asked if there were many people at the home the night of the fire, the man, who declined to identify himself, said that “it was quiet. I went to bed.”

Police investigators continue to examine the fire. It was unknown whether they were investigating the cause of the fire or other aspects about the location of the incident that found Hsieh inside a closed structure.

Wright said the fact-finding is continuing with the New London Fire Marshal’s Office and the New London Police Department’s Investigative Services Division.

Although Hsieh was a nationally known entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Las Vegas, he appeared to be little known in this region of Connecticut, a small port city with antique boutiques, pizza joints, marinas and a large U.S. Coast Guard presence due to a training base.

Hsieh is credited with helping to transform downtown Las Vegas. The Downtown Project, funded in part by Hsieh’s millions from his sale of Zappos to Amazon and loans to small businesses, helped build up areas that were obscured in the shadow of the Strip’s neon glare.

“Tony Hsieh’s vision and generosity made Las Vegas more exciting, more vibrant, and more of a community,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., whose congressional district includes the Strip and downtown.

“I will miss seeing him around town, and I send my condolences to his family and friends,” Titus told the Review-Journal.

THE LATEST
Got the best tacos in town? How to enter Pahrump Taco Fest 2024

Tastebuds are set to be dancing in delight as the Pahrump Taco Fest makes its much-anticipated return to the valley. There is still time for competitors to sign up for a chance at the coveted title of best tacos in town.

Youths can now remain in care of kin under foster care changes

The new change paves a path to allow family members who are caring for a child to access the same financial resources from the state as traditional foster care providers.

GALLERY: What you missed at the Community Baby Shower

The 3rd annual event included activities and games, such as face painting, Find the Baby and Don’t Say Bay-Bee, adding an element of fun.

Plan for medical waste treatment plant draws public outcry

A proposal by MediWaste Disposal LLC to bring a medical waste treatment facility to the valley has touched off a wave of public unrest, with a crowd of Pahrump residents flocking to the latest Nye County Commission meeting to express their displeasure.

3 motorcyclists killed in US 95 crash near Goldfield

Three motorcyclists who died in a crash along US 95 about 2 miles south of Goldfield last week have been identified as Benny Hall, 52, of Tonopah; Jeffery Hicks, 72, of Goldfield; and Frank Winkler, 54, of Linton, Ind.

How Pahrump is remembering its heroes this Memorial Day weekend

Though it has become widely known as the unofficial kickoff of summer, two local veterans’ organizations are helping ensure the real meaning of Memorial Day is not lost among the fun of pool parties and cookouts.

Groundbreaking set for new Tonopah elementary school

A ground-breaking ceremony is set for the construction of the new $25 million Tonopah Elementary School beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29

Nye schools seek retirees to fill some critical vacancies

Even as school officials announced the retirement of more than a dozen teachers and other personnel on Monday night, they hope some veteran workers and retirees will consider returning to fill essential roles in the district.