A star of the early consumer Internet, Zappos helped convince caution that there are few dangers to buying online. Mr. Hsieh became CEO in 2001 and acted as the main spokesperson for the idea that companies like Zappos should try to make both their customers and their employees happy. Amazon bought Zappos in 2009 for $ 1.2 billion. The next year, Mr. Hsieh published the bestseller “Delivering Happiness”.

Business & Economy


Jan. 26, 2021, 10:04 p.m. ET

He turned to a citizen project to revitalize downtown Las Vegas, not far from Zappos headquarters. For the past year, Mr. Hsieh has focused on Park City, Utah, where he spent tens of millions of dollars buying real estate and got so manic that friends said they talked about an intervention.

On the night of the fire, several friends and Mr. Hsieh’s brother Andrew were in the house, according to the report. The house was owned by Rachael Brown, a longtime Zappos employee. She did not return calls seeking comment on this article.

Firefighters regularly visited the house in mid-November.

At 1am on November 16, they were called by a smoke alarm connected to a security company. A man who opened the door said the alarm was triggered by cooking, according to department records.

The firefighters left, but returned minutes later, prompted by another smoke alarm. “On arrival found nothing to be seen and a man said again that there was no problem,” wrote Lt. Timothy O’Reilly in a summary of the call. Firefighters said they came in to look around.

Lieutenant O’Reilly and his colleagues found smoke in the finished basement, along with “melted plastic on the stove, along with cardboard that was hot to the touch.” They also found a burning candle in an “unsafe place” and extinguished it. While the smoke in the basement was dissipating, the firefighters gave fire protection tips.

The investigators’ report also covered an episode in the early evening of November 18. A friend checked Mr. Hsieh in the shed and noticed that a candle had fallen over and burned his ceiling. He asked Mr. Hsieh to put out the flame, and the entrepreneur did.