Fire victim identity verified

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet firefighters work at the site of a fatal apartment fire on Saturday. While the building on the left is the structure that suffered the fire, the building on the right was also evacuated as a safety precaution.

CALUMET — The Daily Mining Gazette has confirmed the name of the victim of Saturday’s downtown structure fire that claimed the life of a previously unidentified male.

Leo Gruber, 46, was found dead in his first-floor apartment at 333 Fifth Street after the fire was extinguished. Gruber’s obituary appears on Page 2 of today’s DMG edition.

While the Daily Mining Gazette knew the identity of the victim on Tuesday, it delayed publishing the victim’s name because the information could not be previously confirmed through official and reliable sources.

The Calumet Village Police Department was in charge of the investigation, but Chief Keith Anderson has been unavailable for comment since Sunday due to the flu. No other departments could release information: Michigan State Police-Calumet Post assisted Calumet Police, but because they were only assisting, they did not have any names or details pertaining to the fire. The Houghton County Sheriff’s Office was not involved in the incident.

While the name was reported by the Keweenaw Report, no source of the information was cited as verification. The name was also circulated on social media sites without citing a source as well.

Erin Fisher, an upstairs neighbor of Gruber, had said during the fire that she believed Gruber was the only person who did not escape the blaze, but she only knew his first name.

Fisher, upon returning home from grocery shopping, discovered smoke in the back stairway. She and the taxi driver who brought her home alerted other tenants to the danger, she said.

She said she could not determine if the smoke was coming from the stairway or the furnace room of the building.

“We saved a lot of people tonight,” she said.

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