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Elderly Woman Dies in NYC Fire Likely Sparked by Cigarette: NYPD

What to Know

  • Police believe the woman was smoking in bed and fell asleep
  • She was pronounced dead at the scene
  • Five other people were injured, including one seriously

Police say an elderly woman was killed and another person was seriously injured in an Upper West Side high-rise fire that was likely ignited by a cigarette.

The 87-year-old woman was found dead in the bedroom of her fifth-floor apartment at 595 Columbus Ave. early Thursday morning.

The woman had apparently fallen asleep while smoking a cigarette sometime after midnight, police said. The FDNY responded to the fire around 1:15 a.m.

Police said the woman was found unconscious in her bed after firefighters extinguished the flames. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name has been withheld pending the notification of her family. 

A second person being treated by paramedics was said to be in serious condition.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported to Mount Sinai St Luke's hospital.

Fire officials said the blaze was brought under control shortly before 2 a.m.

The 11-story building provides affordable housing for older adults. It appears that the woman's apartment was the only unit damaged by the fire. 

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