Jack Nicas/Globe Staff
WELLESLEY -- An 81-year-old woman was found dead this morning after a fire broke out in her bathroom, authorities said.
The woman's husband extinguished the small fire before authorities arrived just before noon, said Wellesley Deputy Police Chief Bill Brooks. The husband was not hurt, but his wife was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
The Norfolk district attorney's office identified the victim as Mary Ellen Thomas.
"There's really not an awful lot of damage," Brooks said. "It was a very small fire contained just in the bathroom itself."
The cause of death was not immediately known, Brooks said. The district attorney's office said an autopsy would be conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.
The couple lived alone in a modest white home with navy blue shutters and red doors on Swarthmore Road, a tidy lane in an upscale part of town.
The home, which had no visible damage, was surrounded by police tape this afternoon; its front windows open to air out the smell of smoke.
Next-door neighbor Pat Berdan, 80, said the victim, a retired schoolteacher, was ďa short and slender lady.Ē Her husband was staying in Burdenís home while fire officials investigated the scene.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more