Rescuers can't save SL woman

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Apartment complex evacuated, death investigation goes on

A Storm Lake woman has died after being found unresponsive when firefighters answered a call for a minor kitchen fire at North Park Apartments complex Saturday evening.

Fire trucks, police and BV Ambulance crew rushed to the scene at 1726 East Milwaukee Avenue, Apartment 9 as a smoke detector bleated out its warning and neighbors reported the smell of smoke.

The complex had already been evacuated as officers arrived.

Firefighters entered and found the apartment filled with smoke. They located occupant Elin Stewart, 47, unresponsive in the apartment.

She was carried from the building, and police and fire officers immediately started to apply first aid on the lawn in front of the apartment building, until BV County Paramedics arrived on scene and transported the victim to the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, where Stewart was pronounced dead on Sunday. Preliminary indications were that her death was not related to the smoke. There were no signs of struggle and no signs of trauma to the body, officials reported.

Police and the county medical examiner's office are continuing to investigate. Additional test results from the autopsy are not expected for several weeks.

Firefighters ventilated the apartment and determined that no fire damage existed and that the smoke was from burnt food in an unattended oven.

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