Major Case Squad says accidental fire led to man’s death at East Alton storage facility

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Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 7:54 PM CST
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EAST ALTON (KMOV) -- The Major Case Squad was activated after a man was found dead in a fire at a self-storage facility in East Alton Tuesday morning.

The East Alton Police Department said first responders arrived at the Stor-All facility in the 600 block of St. Louis Avenue around 1 a.m. Tuesday to multiple storage units engulfed in flames. They found the man lying dead in one of the units.

He was so severely burned that he was initially unidentifiable. Major Case Squad investigators eventually found the man to be 55-year-old James M. Huch.

An investigation found that Huch was dropped off at the Stor-All in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The Major Case Squad investigation determined Huch’s death appears to be the result of an accidental fire.

A woman associated with Huch, 68-year-old Paula M. Vinyard, was charged by Madison County prosecutors with obstructing justice after she allegedly provided false and conflicting information to the Major Case Squad during its investigation. Police did not comment further on Vinyard’s involvement in the case.