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Fatal fire in Newton probably caused by smoking, officials say

Posted by Christina Jedra  April 30, 2013 11:41 AM

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Smoking is believed to have caused a fire in Newton on Friday that took the life of an elderly woman, according to local fire officials and the state fire marshal’s office.

The victim was sitting on her back porch at 30-32 Rowe St. when the fire occurred that morning, said Newton Fire Lieutenant Eric Fricke. Investigators concluded she probably ignited her clothes with her cigarette by accident, Fricke said.

The flames spread to a few areas on the porch itself, but did not extend into the house, Fricke said. “It wasn’t a large volume of fire,” he said.

The fire department got a call from a neighbor who saw flames coming from the victim’s residence at 11:47 a.m. Firefighters arrived at the scene four minutes later and put the flames out with water extinguishers.

“They walked around back and unfortunately, the only thing they found was the poor woman,” he said. “Her clothes were on fire.”

Fricke said that the cause of death was probably trauma from burns.

The Medical Examiner’s office will make a formal identification of the victim and will determine the cause of death.

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