Body is identified

A 30-year-old man with a last known address in Three Rivers was identified as the victim of an early morning fire Monday in Fabius Township.

The St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department said Thomas Nipper apparently broke into a storage barn at Meyer Broadway Park in an effort to seek shelter for the night. Investigators said Nipper intentionally started a fire in a barrel in an attempt to keep warm.

The fire grew out of control and Nipper was unable to escape. An autopsy revealed Nipper, whose identity was verified through dental records, died of smoke inhalation.

A mountain bike found outside the barn was determined to belong to Nipper.

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