A third unidentified victim died yesterday of injuries suffered in Saturday night's fire at 1203 I St. N.E. police said cigarette smoking was the apparent cause of the fire.

Two men had been pronounced dead on arrival at Washington Hospital Center shortly after midnight Saturday. Neither has been officially identified by police or fire officials.

Jasper Dixon, of 1205 I St. NE, said the house next door, completely gutted by the fire, had been occupied by his brother Elmer Dixon, their half-brother Melvin Dickerson, and as many as four other men whom Dixon was unable to identify.

Mervin Shello, owner of the house, said he had been trying to get the tenants to move ever since buying the property in February, 1977. Shello said he had planned to fix up the house and rent it out.

"I gave them notice when they failed to pay the rent," he said. "I have been by there almost every day this week and each time there was another fellow in there."

Shello said he had asked Elmer Dixon who the new occupants were and Dixon had told him they were helping him pay the rent. The rent was $121 a month, said Shello.

Two survivors, Isaac Robinson, 28, and Carl McDaniel, 28, were listed in critical condition with severe burns over most of their bodies. Robinson was at Washington Hospital Center and McDaniel at Capitol Hill Hospital.