Blaze kills senior who lived alone

The Beverly Hills woman dies inside her green one-story wood house early in the morning. The cause of the fire was still unknown.
By CARRIE JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
published October 17, 2002


BEVERLY HILLS -- A 75-year-old woman died in an early morning fire at her Beverly Hills residence Wednesday.

Kathleen Laszlo, who lived alone at 298 W Sugarmaple Lane, was declared dead at the scene. An autopsy was being performed Wednesday at the state Medical Examiner's Office in Leesburg.

The origin of the fire was still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office and the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

According to Gail Tierney, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, a neighbor called 911 and reported the fire at 4:50 a.m. Wednesday.

The first firefighters arrived at the house at 5:06 a.m., she said.

Units from the Hernando, Inverness, Citrus Springs, Beverly Hills and Connell Heights fire departments battled the blaze, which burned a hole in the shingled roof.

Neighbors said they heard firefighters attempting to rouse Laszlo.

A family member, who was at the house Wednesday, declined to talk with a reporter.

While the frame of the green one-story wood house remained intact, the inside was charred and filled with soot. Laszlo's 1998 blue Chevrolet Lumina, which was parked in the garage, was also damaged.

Lt. Gloria Perrotti of the State Fire Marshal's Office estimated the loss at $100,000.

According to county property records, Laszlo had owned the house since 1988.

-- Carrie Johnson can be reached at 860-7309 or .