NEW LONDON — Tony Hsieh, former chief executive officer of Zappos, was trapped in a storage area during a fire that eventually claimed his life, New London police said Monday.
Firefighters and police responded to a structure fire at a Pequot Avenue home around 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 18, finding “dark smoke emanating from the back of the residential structure,” police officials said in a release.
“Individuals at the scene informed emergency personnel that a man, who was later identified as Anthony Hsieh … was locked inside a storage area where smoke was coming out at the rear of the residence, and they were unable to get him out. Emergency personnel breached the storage area door, retrieved the victim, Anthony Hsieh, and (extinguished) the fire,” police said.
Hsieh, 46, was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, then to the burn center at Bridgeport Hospital where he died of his injuries.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Hsieh’s death accidental Monday and said it was caused by complications from smoke inhalation.
New London police said Monday the Fire Marshal’s Office and the department’s Investigative Services Division are continuing to investigate the incident.
In a statement, Zappos described Hsieh as “a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being.”
According to the Associated Press, Hsieh was a Harvard University graduate who joined the company — then called ShoeSite.com — in 1999. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh remained with the company until his retirement.
For years, Hsieh also worked to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, pledging $350 million in 2013 for redevelopment. The same year he moved Zappos’ headquarters into the former Las Vegas City Hall building.
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