Washington Fire Victim Was Smoking or Lighting a Candle

An elderly woman who died of burns apparently set her bathrobe on fire by accident while smoking or lighting a candle in the kitchen of her suburban Seattle apartment, authorities said.


REDMOND, Wash. (AP) -- An elderly woman who died of burns apparently set her bathrobe on fire by accident while smoking or lighting a candle in the kitchen of her suburban Seattle apartment, authorities said.

Shirley Rux, 69, had burns on virtually her entire body, fire Lt. Thomas Langton said.

``The bathrobe was made of synthetic material, so it burned very quickly,'' Langton said.

When fire crews arrived Saturday night, ``they found the woman standing in the front doorway with virtually all her clothing burned off,'' fire Battalion Chief Ed Carolan said.

Robert Rux, her husband, was listed in stable condition Sunday night at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with burns on his hands and feet from trying to extinguish the flames engulfing his wife.

Fire officials said the flames apparently were ignited by a candle or cigarette and were confined to her clothing and a small part of the kitchen floor.