Elderly Florida Woman Dies in Condo Fire

TAMARAC, Fla. --

Investigators are trying to determine what caused a condominium fire that killed a 78-year-old resident late Sunday night.

The fire occurred shortly before 11 p.m. in a corner unit on the second floor of the Lakes of Carriage Hills condominiums, located at 6095 Sabal Palm Blvd.

The 78-year-old victim was found dead in the kitchen. Firefighters said there was extensive damage to the kitchen and living room.

Tamarac fire-rescue Division Chief Jeff Moral said it appeared the fire started in the living room, possibly by candles and some Christmas ornaments.

Firefighters evacuated the building, but when the woman in the next-door unit failed to respond, they went in and found her sleeping while her home filled with smoke.

"Suddenly, a lot of people came in and ripped me off the bed and told me there was a fire," Muriel Lazarus said.

She was transported to Holy Cross Hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation, and returned home Monday.

Lazarus offered nothing but praise for the firefighters who saved her life.

"They endangered their own life to save my life," she said.

Investigators said a smoke detector that had been removed from the deceased victim's condo might have saved her life.

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