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Woman, 80, dies in Chinatown apartment fire

December 27, 2012 |  9:34 am

An 80-year-old woman died after being burned while trapped in a Chinatown apartment blaze, authorities said Thursday.

Two men, described as her husband and son, remained in critical condition after suffering varying degrees of burns and smoke inhalation injuries in the Wednesday night fire, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Firefighters responded to the fast-moving apartment fire about 6 p.m. in the 700 block of North Cleveland Street. Rescue crews pulled the handicapped woman from her second-floor unit, where the fire originated.

Nearly 80% of her body had second- and third-degree burns, officials said. She had no pulse and was not breathing when she was pulled out of her apartment. Firefighters discovered the two men nearby.

The woman was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

The blaze was extinguished in 13 minutes and the damage was estimated at $31,500. The fire was contained to the apartment and no other injuries were reported.

The two-bedroom apartment had three smoke alarms, but authorities were unable to determine if they worked or if the residents were alerted, LAFD said in a statement. The 46-year-old building was not equipped with residential fire sprinklers.

"Though the cause of the blaze remains the focus of an active investigation, LAFD Investigators do not consider the fire to be an intentional act or suspicious in nature," Humphrey said.

The L.A. County coroner's office had not yet released the woman's name.

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-- Adolfo Flores

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