Careless Smoking Starts High-Rise Condo Fire

Woman trapped in bathroom by fire dials 9-1-1 for help, later dies

Careless smoking by an elderly woman led to a fire that claimed her life and injured another person at a high-rise condo complex Monday, according to Lower Merion fire chief Charles McGarvey.

The fire broke out inside the elderly woman's unit on the 10th floor of 191 Presidential Condominiums around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Smoke filled the top three floors of the 10-story building, which houses many elderly residents, as it quickly grew to three alarms.

"Oh God, there's terrible smoke," said resident Elida Michaels-Bacher.

The woman became trapped inside a small room after the flames overtook the condo. She called 9-1-1 to alert firefighters of her location.

The woman was rushed to Lankenau Hospital, but later died. Officials did not release what injuries she sustained, but did say an oxygen tank was present in the condo.

A second resident was also suffered minor injuries in the smoky fire. They are expected to recover.

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