70-year-old woman dies in house fire started by cigarette

COTATI (BCN) – A 70-year-old woman died this morning after suffering extensive burns in a Friday night fire in Cotati, according to the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

Dispatchers sent firefighters to an automatic fire alarm at 9:59 p.m. at an apartment at 42 Charles St., fire officials said. Firefighters were able to get access to the apartment at 10:05 p.m. and found smoke from
floor to ceiling in a combination living room/kitchen, fire officials said.

Water from a sprinkler was flowing and had largely extinguished the fire, which was contained to a futon couch, according to the fire district.

Firefighters first made a sweep of the apartment looking for victims but didn’t find anyone until fans cleared some of the smoke, Battalion Chief Mike Weihman said.

Firefighters found the victim in the living room and carried her outside where medics administered care, according to the fire district. An ambulance took the victim to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and then airlifted
her to the University of California at Davis Medical Center’s burn unit in Sacramento where she died.

Fire officials said the fire started when a cigarette fell to the floor, ignited something and spread to a blanket and the woman’s clothing, Weihman said.

The woman was probably burned seconds after the fire started and before the sprinkler went on. The sprinkler was less than 10 feet away, according to the fire district.

Weihman said he hopes the incident motivates others to be more careful when smoking.

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