The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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December 8, 2012

Update: Fatal fire discovered after electricity went out



Dorothy Nichols had moved to the mobile home after she was married. After the marriage ended, she started an upholstry business in the garage. She remodeled the garage, moved into it and allowed Mike Nichols to rent the mobile home after he got out of the military in the 1980s, he said.

She had decided to go to a nursing home about two months ago, but that arrangement lasted fewer than two weeks. Dorothy Nichols didn't like it much and decided to move back, Mike Nichols said.

"She was a pack rat and I think that probably contributed to the fire," he said. "I'm not sure how the fire started. She smoked. There were extension cords. Something could have fell against her stove. I don't know and I don't know if they will ever figure it out with all the stuff that was in there."

Neither residence was insured, so Mike Nichols, whose wife, Donna, died in July, said he didn't know what he was going to do next for housing. The Red Cross has supplied him with a hotel for a few days, but he needs to find a place for his cats. He had a call into the Brown County Humane Society Saturday morning.

He does know he will be going back to work doing building maintenance for New Ulm Telecom Monday morning.

"I'm doing all right," Nichols said. "I'm just taking it as it comes, I guess."

An autopsy is pending to determine the cause of Dorothy Nichols' death, a Brown County Sheriff's Department news release said. The official cause of the fire had not yet been determined.




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