Smoke cited in woman’s death today

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2000

An 88-year-old woman died in an early morning apartment fire onDouglas Trail, said Lincoln County Coroner Morris Henderson.

Ila V. Simmons, of 1675 Douglas Trail, is believed to have diedof smoke inhalation after a fire started in a living room airconditioner unit in her apartment, Henderson said.

Mrs. Simmons lived behind the home of her daughter, BettyDouglas. The fire was reported about 4 a.m. today, Henderson said.Mrs. Simmons sustained no burn injuries in the fire.

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“The flames never got to her bedroom,” Henderson said.

Mrs. Simmons was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:30 a.m.Henderson said foul play is not suspected and no autopsy isplanned.

Henderson said Richard and Betty Douglas removed Mrs. Simmonsfrom the building after noticing flames coming from the apartment.East Lincoln volunteer firefighters responded quickly, but much ofthe fire was out upon arrival, said Clifford Galey, departmentpresident.

“Apparently, it started from an air conditioner,” Galey said.”We still have it under investigation.”

Galey said the air conditioner, sections of a wall and carpetand a chair were damaged by fire. Otherwise, damage was mostlysmoke-related.

“It had heavy smoke damage to the apartment, but fire damagewasn’t major,” Galey said.

Galey said the apartment and the Douglas home are connected by abreezeway and an attic. He said some smoke got into the home, butthere was no damage.

Firefighters left the scene around 7 a.m., Galey said.

Henderson said Mrs. Simmons’ death was the first fire-relateddeath of 2000. He recalled three in 1999.

Harrigill Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements,which were incomplete this morning.