Cigarette on couch sparked fatal fire

A fire that killed an elderly woman inside her home over the weekend was accidentally sparked by a cigarette left on a couch, fire investigators said Monday.

The Mesa County Coroner’s Office confirmed that 85-year-old Phyllis Williams died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation and ruled her death an accident.

Grand Junction firefighters pulled Williams out of her house at 198 Rincon Drive Saturday evening after a neighbor spotted smoke.

She died a short time later at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Mike Page, spokesman for the Grand Junction Fire Department, said Williams was a smoker and likely fell asleep on the couch while smoking. He said firefighters found her in the kitchen.

Page said there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the house, meaning the fire had been smoldering for some time.

He said there were smoke detectors in the house, but investigators can’t tell if they were working because they were so badly damaged in the fire.

Williams’ son, Richard, told The Daily Sentinel his wife and daughter had been at his mother’s house about three hours earlier and everything was fine.


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