Woman in Critical Condition After Vermont Fire

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A 51-year-old woman was in critical condition after being pulled unconscious by firefighters from a burning apartment house Tuesday morning.

The three-story frame house at 19 Green St., converted to an apartment on each floor, caught fire at about 8 a.m. after a second-floor tenant fell asleep with a cigarette.

Pamela Ellis, the third-floor resident, was listed in critical condition Tuesday evening at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

The fire caused heavy damage to the second and third floors and left a charred hole in the roof.

Firefighters, including off-duty personnel called back for the alarm, doused the flames quickly, but were still moving through the smoldering building later, dealing with remaining hot spots and weakened ceilings.

Seth Matlick, a University of Vermont junior who lives next door, across a narrow driveway, said he was awakened by the beeping of the smoke detector from the burning house.

He jumped out of bed to see the flames billowing toward his bedroom window and a frightened man and a child on the second-floor porch. A woman from next door had already made it to the ground, he said, and was standing, crying, in the back yard.

Matlick called 911 then roused his own housemates.

Assistant Fire Marshal Tom Middleton said Ellis was not breathing after firefighters, who found her on the third floor, carried her out of the fire and down the stairs.

``They resuscitated her on the way to the hospital,'' Middleton said.

He said a family of seven in the second-floor apartment managed to escape without injury.

The first-floor apartment was unoccupied, he said.

Middleton said the house was equipped with the new city-mandated hard-wired and interconnected smoke detectors that alert other apartments to a fire.

He estimated the damage to the house at ``upwards of $100,000.''