A 52-year-old woman died in an early morning fire today at a senior citizen apartment complex in Baxter. Baxter fire chief Steve Smith says the woman’s name is being withheld until all her relatives can be notified. Smith says the fire was reported at 5:39 this morning and says smoke was coming out from under the eaves of one of the apartment complex’s buildings and a lot of the windows were blackened.
The chief says the fire accelerated after crews arrived on the scene. Smith says there was an oxygen cylinder in one of the apartments that went off and that blew out the windows in the front of the building, and fed more air to the fire to let it take off. Firefighters from Newton, Mingo and Melbourne were called out to help. Smith says all five occupants in the five unit apartment building had escaped by the time firemen arrived — with the exception of the victim.
The woman’s body was found at 7:18 this morning. Smith says no one was injured fighting the fire, despite hazardous conditions as the water sprayed onto the fire froze. He says there was a lot of ice and potential for firemen to get hurt. Smith says investigators from the state fire marshal’s office are helping try and determine the cause of the deadly fire.