LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Radio transmissions between dispatchers and firefighters are providing a better picture of what happened the morning former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was injured in a fire that later killed him.
Hsieh died in Connecticut on Friday, Nov. 27 after being rescued from the fire on Nov. 18. He was 46.
Recordings of the incident began around 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 18. Firefighters responded to a report of a fire at 500 Pequot Ave. in New London, Connecticut.
“500 Pequot for a fire inside of a house,” a dispatcher is heard saying. “One person barricaded inside of a room.”
The three-story waterfront home contains guest quarters on the basement level. That level opens up to a pool area behind the house, records obtained by the I-Team show. A storage area, which looks like a shed, is attached to the back of the building on that level.
“It’s going to be an actual shed that’s attached to the exterior of the house and the male is barricaded,” a dispatcher says on the call. “He’s not answering the door.”
It is unclear if Hsieh was barricaded in the shed or if he was stuck inside. Fire officials said they had to force their way into the storage area and pull Hsieh out. They did not provide more information and said their investigation was ongoing.
Others were able to escape from the home, radio calls indicate, and one person suffered a hand injury.
“We have one victim being pulled from the fire now unresponsive,” a firefighter tells dispatchers about 10 minutes into the call.
According to the transmissions, the fire appears to have begun in the basement area where records say there is one fireplace, but no official cause of the fire had been released, as of Monday. Video of the waterfront home shows a car in the driveway and no visible damage.
A police officer is heard on the radio calls reading off the license plate “ZAPPOS” from the driveway.
The home is owned by Rachael Brown, a longtime Zappos employee, records show.
Hsieh died from complications of smoke inhalation, according to the Connecticut Office of the Medical Examiner. His death was ruled an accident, though the office is waiting for more test results to come back, which is standard procedure.
Hsieh led retail giant Zappos for 20 years and retired as CEO back in August. He played a pivotal role in the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas.