Woman dies in house fire

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A fire inside a house in the 25000 block of Lehigh spread quickly March 4 and claimed the life of a 69-year-old woman.

Firefighters said the fire could have been building for a long time because of the amount of clutter inside the house, and that Patricia Tomkowski died because she could not make it to the front door.

Neighbors were saddened by her death and said in published reports that the woman was a known hoarder who had been in poor health and barely went out of the house.

Fire Chief Andrew Gurka said there were no working smoke detectors in the house, and had there been, they may have saved her life.

Fire Department officials said that while the fire is under investigation, it most likely was an accident.