An autopsy conducted Monday morning determined that a Terre Haute woman who died in a Sunday morning apartment fire south of the city was a victim of smoke inhalation.
The woman, Rosalie Trimmer, 71, was the sole occupant of the apartment, located in the 6700 block of Honey Creek Street off Carlisle Street near Honey Creek Middle School.
Battalion Chief Josh Sittler of the Honey Creek Fire Department said Trimmer was found in a hallway area of the apartment. The fire was contained to a living room/kitchen area, he said, and the cause of the fire appears to be clothing that had been placed against a baseboard heater under the front window in the apartment. The fire has been ruled accidental.
Sittler also said the smoke detector in the apartment did not have a battery and was not operational.
The fire was reported around 10:45 a.m.
On Monday, some other residents of the apartment building were outside the units discussing their experience.
Tim Brown said he was watching television when he heard a commotion and went outside to find neighbors outside and one person banging on the Trimmer’s apartment door trying to alert her to the fire.
A moment later, he said, the front window glass in Trimmer’s apartment blew out.
“The Honey Creek Fire Department responded quickly,” Brown said. “They were were so quick, they contained the fire to this unit right here. I wanna commend Honey Creek Fire for getting here as quickly as they did.”
Jon Burch said he had been asleep a couple of hours when he was alerted to the fire. He said he has lived in the apartment for about eight years, while Trimmer had lived in her unit less than
Brown and Burch reported only smoke damage to their apartments. Fire and water did not reach their units.
On Monday, the electricity to the units remained shut off.
Neither Brown nor Burch had renters insurance, they said, and both were wondering about how to get the smoke damage out of their belongings.
“Don’t feel sorry for us,” Brown said. “Feel glad that we’re alive.”
In a telephone interview, another of Trimmer’s neighbors, William Bennett, said he plans to move to Indianapolis with his girlfriend, who was with him when the fire occurred.
“It’s a tragedy that someone died,” he said, “but four people made it out alive.”
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.