New London Fire Marshal Vernon Skau detailed the fateful night in a report released this week, which laid out multiple possible causes of the fire, including “carelessly discarded smoking material,” “the misuse of candles,” “carelessness or even an intentional act by Hsieh.”
According to the report, Hsieh got in an argument shortly before midnight on Nov. 17 with the homeowner, Rachael Brown, whom he had been staying with. Hsieh then went to a shed that was adjacent to the house before his planned trip to Hawaii early the next morning.
Skau wrote that Hsieh may have been intoxicated, as liquor bottles, a marijuana pipe, and nitrous oxide containers were found in the shed, but it is unclear if his potential impairment played any role in the fire.
Over the next few hours, friends checked in on him in regular intervals, and two small fires were extinguished — one that started when a blanket caught on fire from a lit candle, and another that started when Hsieh lit a small plastic bag to keep warm.
Multiple 911 calls from the night show Hsieh’s friends’ efforts to get him out of the shed once the final fatal fire started around 3:20 a.m.
One caller at the scene told the 911 operator that Hsieh was barricaded in a room that was on fire.
“We’re not getting a response from him. We’re not getting a response from him,” she frantically told the operator.
“We need help as soon as possible. Someone’s locked in a room with a fire,” another person told a 911 operator. “He’s locked in a storage room.”
Authorities do not believe that any criminality was involved. The medical examiner ruled that his cause of death was complications from smoke inhalation.
Hsieh was scheduled to leave for Hawaii early in the morning Nov. 18, where he was supposed to check into a rehab, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The former Zappos CEO retired from the company last year just months before his death.
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.