Woman Dies of Injuries Suffered in North Dakota Apartment Blaze

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) -- The mother of a 4-month-old girl killed in an apartment fire here also has died, authorities said.

Williston Assistant Fire Chief Harold Christopherson said the 32-year-old woman died about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. She was flown to a Minneapolis burn center on Saturday, following the early morning blaze.

Christopherson said the woman and the baby died of smoke inhalation.

Josh Schmitz, 27, also died in the fire, Williston Fire Chief Jim Jarland said.

A man and a young boy escaped from the woman's apartment, Jarland said.

''He thought she and the baby were behind him,'' Jarland said.

''The fire department had a rough time with this,'' Christopherson said. ''The firemen brought the baby out. It was a little more than I thought we could take. It was very emotional.''

Jarland said a smoke detector in the woman's apartment was disabled.

Jarland said the fire was caused by a cigarette that was smoldering in a couch in Schmitz's apartment.

Jarland said earlier that it was Schmitz's cigarette that likely caused the fire.

''Somebody said he doesn't smoke,'' Jarland said. ''It was caused by a cigarette in an ashtray in the couch, but by whom, we don't know.''

Jarland said a 23-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son escaped from Schmitz's apartment. The boy also was taken to the Minnesota burn center. His condition has not been released.

Victims' names were not immediately released pending notification of relatives.

Information from: Minot Daily News

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