OGDEN — A 75-year-old woman was found dead in an apartment fire Tuesday. Now, investigators are trying to sort through a series of odd events to figure out what happened, though they believe the fire was an accident.
Christina Romero, the woman's neighbor at the Village Apartments, 615 Jefferson Ave., first heard the victim yelling about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. When she went to the apartment to investigate, she said the woman inside, who was alone, was upset about something, said Ogden Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman.
It was unclear Tuesday what the woman was upset about. Romero said the victim was smoking cigarettes.
"She had one lit and was going to light another one and I said, 'What the hell are you doing?'" Romero recalled Tuesday. "(The victim) said, 'I don't care about nothing.'"
An hour later, neighbors heard a smoke detector going off in the victim's apartment. For an unknown reason, no one went over to the apartment to check it out, Bauman said.
About 6:10 a.m., a newspaper delivery boy also heard a smoke detector coming from the unit. Bauman said he did not know whether the smoke detector had been going off for three hours or if it had stopped and started again.
The delivery boy called 911. He also enlisted the help of neighbor Tia Stimpson, who said she checked the door knob and entered the home to find the victim lying on her back on the ground.
"I went over and she had oxygen tubing around her neck and over and I pulled it down and tested for a pulse on both sides," Stimpson said, adding that it appeared the woman had fallen.
When crews arrived, the fire was already out. The elderly woman, whose name was not released, was found deceased inside. The apartment had suffered heavy fire damage, especially in the living room and kitchen.
Bauman could not comment on whether investigators believed the woman died as a result of the fire, how the fire may have started or where in the apartment it started and what it burned. The entire incident remains under investigation, but Bauman said the fire "does appear to be accidental at this time."
The fire was contained to the one unit.
Romero said the incident did not come as a surprise to her.
"I knew one day this was going to happen," she said."I don't know how, it was just bound to happen."
Contributing: Shara Park