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Suspicious death of a man found in house fire on NE Spruce Lane concerns neighbors

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:18 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The suspicious death of a man found after a fire destroyed his house on Northeast Spruce Lane has neighbors concerned.

Ashlee Collins says she was sleeping Sunday morning when she heard activity outside her home.

“My dogs were going wild. I heard the sirens and thought it was further away. So I got on my phone real quick, on Facebook, and was like there’s a house fire in Northeast Spruce and I’m like that’s me, I’m on Spruce. Who is it? What is going on? So I jumped up ran outside and then I saw the fire and everybody was out,” Collins explained.

Authorities say a fire call came out around 7:30 am Sunday.

Topeka police say firefighters pulled Palmer Thompson, 29, of Topeka out of the home.

“I didn’t hear any gunshots, I smelt something, but I thought it was me dreaming,” Collins continued to explain. “Like no that’s not a fire and then that’s whenever my dogs are still going crazy and so I finally put two and two together like oh I should wake up something’s actually going on.”

Thompson’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his two children did not want to speak on camera but said he was a loving father.

Collins says she didn’t know Thompson personally but knew he had children, “I have kids too and so you know our kids would play sometimes together and he just seemed like a real down-to-earth guy, really nice.”

Topeka police say they are investigating Thompson’s death as a homicide.

Collins says she noticed suspicious activity leading up to the incident.

“There was quite a bit of activity leading up to it, different cars, trucks, motorcycles coming in and out of the house, all kinds of hours of the day, it didn’t matter what time,” Collins said.

Collins says the tragedy has her on edge, “especially the kids that he has and I can’t imagine my kids growing up without a parent and now they’re going to have to all for no reason, and it didn’t have to happen.”

“It definitely makes me nervous and we always keep our doors locked, and we have our animals and they were doing as they were supposed to do in alerting us learning me that something was wrong but it’s definitely, keeps me on a little bit more edge,” she added.

Topeka police have not yet named any suspects in the case. If you have information, you’re encouraged to call crime stoppers at 785-234-0007.

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