Smoking may be the cause of fatal Montrose fire

One day after fire killed an elderly Montrose couple, investigators say smoking in bed may have caused the blaze. Gus Ortmann, 82, and his wife Vera, 77, died in the fire, which tore through their home before dawn on Tuesday.

Sometime after 4 a.m. officials say somone passing by the house, which is located on Francis Drive East, saw the flames and called authorities. When firefighters arrived on the scene, there was little they could do to save the couple, who had lived there for more than 20 years.

While investigators believe the fire was probably the result of smoking in bed, officials may never know for sure. Montrose Assistant Fire Chief Hank Hrdlicka says the damage was so severe investigators may never actually identify the cause.

Relatives tell News 12 Westchester funeral arrnagements for the Ortmanns have not yet been worked out. But they expect them to be cremated, according to their wishes.

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