A York City woman found dead in her home after a small fire might have been dead for more than a day before she was found on Sunday.
A city fire official said a caretaker, who called 911, found Margaret L. Mann, 68, dead inside the home.
Emergency responders were dispatched to the woman's 1724 Devers Road home at 5:20 p.m. and arrived to find Mann dead and the fire burned out, said David Michaels, acting York City fire chief.
"At this point in the investigation, we can tell the fire most likely happened (Saturday)," he said. "It was completely out on our arrival."
The small fire is believed to have been caused by careless smoking, officials said. A state police fire marshal is investigating, as a York City police and fire officials.
An autopsy was scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
"At this time the death is considered fire-related," York County Deputy Coroner Jeffri Goodfellow said.
Tried to get out: It appears Mann, who suffered from health problems, was likely asleep when a cigarette set a sofa alight on the first floor, Michaels said.
The fire likely started sometime after 4 p.m. Saturday, he said.
During the blaze, Mann woke up and tried to get out of her home but was overcome by smoke, Michaels said.
"As she started to breathe in the smoke, it overcame her," he said.
The fire wasn't big but it smoldered, creating a large amount of smoke. Flames didn't spread past the sofa and the area around it, but smoke filled the two-story house, blackening walls.
It was such a small fire that neighbors in attached homes in the Colony Park neighborhood didn't know there was a fire.
"So it was really not real intense flames," Michaels said.
The fire and smoke caused an estimated $70,000 in damage.
Smoke detector: A caretaker, described as a family friend, went to the house after family members couldn't reach Mann over the phone.
Mann's life might have been saved if she had had a working smoke detector in the house, Michaels said.
Fire officials found one smoke detector on the second floor, but it didn't have batteries, the chief said.
If there were a working smoke detector in the house, someone, possibly a neighbor, could have heard it beeping.
"It's possible someone could have called (911) and saved her life," Michaels said.
- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.