Fire officials Wednesday blamed either careless smoking or an electrical fire for the smoky blaze that killed a Minneapolis couple.

The victims, found in the bedroom of their single-story home at 2940 Washburn Av. N. on Tuesday night, were identified by a next-door neighbor as Genie Caldwell, 49, and Jeffrey J. Howard, 48.

The cause of the fire “is accidental,” the Fire Department said in a statement.

“There are two possible ignition sources in the living room,” the statement added. “The first is smoking materials igniting combustibles in the love seat cushions. The second is electrical.”

While there was smoke damage throughout the house, the fire was contained to the living room, fire officials said Tuesday night.


Paul Walsh

and Joy Powell