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Woman dies after apartment fire

Tue., Dec. 1, 2009, 11:32 a.m.

A 70-year-old Spokane woman died today after being pulled from her burning apartment in downtown Spokane.

Ethel Maxfield was rushed by ambulance from the Cathedral Plaza to Deaconess Medical Center, where she died, according to the Spokane Fire Department.

The fire, which occurred just before 7 a.m,. was confined to the woman’s apartment, but smoke filled the lower section of the 15-story affordable senior citizen apartments, 1120 W. Sprague Ave.

A ladder truck crew from station No. 4 on the west end of downtown rescued Maxfield from the fire but it was too late.

“She was in a pretty hostile smoke and fire environment,” said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Other residents were evacuated to a recreation room in the building’s basement. Residents in the upper floors remained in their apartments.

Firefighters moved throughout the building to check on the condition of the elderly residents and transported a man to the hospital for a medical condition unrelated to the fire.

The evacuation was slowed because the building’s elevator was not operating for about an hour.

The fire heavily damaged Maxfield’s apartment, room 106, and the rest of the first floor sustained minor smoke damage.

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