Zappos founder Tony Hsieh died from smoke inhalation, medical examiner says

Officials did not say if he was trapped or barricaded inside the home

Tony Hsieh, the founder and retired CEO of shoe retailer Zappos, died last week from complications from smoke inhalation suffered during a house fire days earlier, the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said.

New London firefighters arrived at a burning mansion around 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 to reports of someone "stuck inside," according to audio recordings between dispatchers and first responders released by Broadcastify, which archives public safety audio streams.

The recordings between emergency personnel at the scene and dispatchers indicated someone was either trapped or barricaded inside the waterfront home.

"The male is barricaded inside. He's not answering the door," a dispatcher says. "Everyone else is outside. And the male is barricaded … he’s not opening the door."


In this Sept. 30, 2013, file photo, Tony Hsieh speaks during a Grand Rapids Economic Club luncheon in Grand Rapids, Mich. Hsieh, retired CEO of Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer, has died. Hsieh was with family when he died Friday, Nov.

Officials have not said if Hsieh was barricaded inside.

The firefighters were told at the scene that someone later identified as Hsieh, 46, was locked inside a storage area where smoke was coming out at the rear of the home, the New London Police Department said in a statement.

"Emergency personnel breached the storage area door, retrieved the victim, Anthony Hsieh, and extinguish [sic] the fire," the department said.

Hsieh’s attorney, Puoy Premsrirut, and New London Fire Chief Thomas Curcio did not immediately respond to Fox News requests for comment about the fire.

Hsieh was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital with severe injuries. He was treated and later transported to the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Center for extensive medical care. He died Friday.


Premsrirut told news outlets that Hsieh was visiting a home in Connecticut when he was injured. The home was purchased by Rachel Anne Brown over the summer, The Day reported. A woman by the same name was listed as a Zappos employee in a posting last year titled "Meet The Women Who've Changed Zappos History."

Hsieh recently retired from Zappos after 20 years leading the company. He joined the company — then called — in 1999. Zappos was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009, but Hsieh had remained with the company until his retirement.

Fox Business' Stephanie Pagones as well as The Associated Press contributed to this report.