UPDATE: Fire Victim Identified; Died Of Smoke Inhalation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: Fire Victim Identified; Died Of Smoke Inhalation

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SPOKANE, Wash. – Nearly two dozen people displaced by a fire in downtown Spokane could return to their homes as early as Thursday as fire crews continue to investigate what cause the fire Wednesday.

22 people spent the night at a Red Cross Shelter at North Central High School after an evening fire near the intersection of Main and Bernard.

The fire started on the third floor of the building at about five o'clock.  It was the second time that emergency crews were called to the building on Wednesday.

A man on the third floor requested medics Wednesday afternoon.  Authorities checked on the man at three o'clock.  Two hours later the fire started and that same man died. An autopsy Thursday confirmed that 59-year-old Louis J Schopp died from smoke inhalation.

Business owners of a nearby restaurant identified him as "Louie" and said he was a regular customer.

"He was a wonderful man who visited our restaurant two or three times per week," said Emiko Collett of Sukiyaki Inn Japanese Restaurant.  "We cannot believe this happened."

Investigators determined the fire started on the third floor but have not released a cause.

Authorities were working to secure the third floor before allowing displaced residents to return to their homes on the second or fourth floors.

KHQ Local News Reporter Anthony Gomes contributed to this report.

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