county's first hmong sheriff's deputy killed in fire

This is a tragic story out of Minnesota, about 49-year-old Ka Lee Yang, who died in a St. Paul apartment fire earlier this month. He was a former Ramsey County sheriff's deputy -- the first Hmong person to hold that position: Man killed in St. Paul apartment fire was 1st Hmong deputy.

The medical examiner's office determined his death as accidental and was apparently due to smoke inhalation. There were no other injuries in the fire:
The smoke was thick on the second floor. Still, they pounded on walls and screamed for anyone who might be on that floor, Peterson said. The men paused and listened for anyone who might be calling for help. They said they didn't hear a sound.

When firefighters put out the blaze, they discovered Ka Lee Yang, a second-floor tenant, dead.

"We all wish the best for the family, and we feel really bad for them that there was nothing we could do," Peterson said.

Firefighters found Ka Lee Yang slumped over the rim of a bathtub. The fire had started on his balcony and spread into the living room, Zaccard said. The fire department has not ruled out smoking or cooking, but investigators may never know the exact cause of the fire, Zaccard said.
Ka Lee Yang became a St. Paul police temporary community liaison officer in 1990, working with the Hmong community. He became a St. Paul police officer in May 1991 and a Ramsey County sheriff's deputy in April 1992. He was the fourth Hmong police officer in the state. More here: Fire victim was first Hmong Ramsey County deputy.

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