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Published: 2/21/2009

Body is found after blaze

BLADE STAFF
An investigator leaves the fire-damaged home on Austin Street where the body of a 52-year-old woman was found yesterday by firefighters. Officials are exploring two possible causes: the motor on a mechanical bed or from a cigarette. The blaze started on the bed in the first-floor dining room and was quickly contained by firefighters. An investigator leaves the fire-damaged home on Austin Street where the body of a 52-year-old woman was found yesterday by firefighters. Officials are exploring two possible causes: the motor on a mechanical bed or from a cigarette. The blaze started on the bed in the first-floor dining room and was quickly contained by firefighters.
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Spearman Spearman
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Authorities are trying to determine what caused a fire early yesterday inside a North Toledo house, where the body of a bedridden 52-year-old woman was found.

The body of Charline Spearman was found by firefighters called to her house at 331 Austin St. about 2:30 a.m. The preliminary cause of her death is smoke inhalation, but an exact cause is pending toxicology results, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner.

Assistant Fire Chief Luis Santiago said investigators are looking at two potential causes of the fire.

The mechanical bed on which Ms. Spearman used will be examined by an engineer to determine whether a faulty motor caused the fire. Ms. Spearman had been bedridden for three years.

Chief Santiago said a lighted cigarette also could be blamed.

"Those are the two roads we're going down right now," he said.

The fire started on the bed and was quickly contained by firefighters, he said.

The bed was in a dining room on the first floor.

A smoke detector alerted Ms. Spearman's teenage grandchildren to the fire. They had been sleeping upstairs and escaped unharmed, the chief said.



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