'Careless' Smoker Dies in North Philadelphia Fire

A 40-year-old woman died while trying to put out a fire in her North Philadelphia apartment early yesterday, fire officials said.

The woman, whose name was withheld pending notification to her family, was smoking and "the cause of the fire is careless smoking," said Executive Chief Daniel Williams, spokesman for the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Ladder 1 and Engine 34 responded at 2:18 a.m. to the victim's second-floor apartment at the Girard Court Apartments on College Avenue near 22nd Street. One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from Hahnemann University Hospital.

The one-alarm fire was under control by 2:51 a.m. Fire damage was limited to her apartment, but some other units had smoke damage, fire officials said.

The Fire Marshal's Office determined that the woman had been smoking and that she had made a tragic mistake by "trying to put it the fire out," Williams said.

The Fire Department later said it would distribute fire prevention materials to all the units in the apartment complex. A department program called "Take it Outside" urges people to smoke outside their residences to reduce smoking-fire deaths.

Distributed by the Associated Press