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Deadly fire caused by cigarette

September 17, 2003

HARRODSBURG - An apartment fire that killed a disabled woman Sept. 11 has been ruled accidental by the state fire marshal's office.

Harrodsburg Fire Chief Marshall Hockersmith said the fire apparently began when one of two occupants of the apartment smoked on a couch in the apartment at 830 North College St. at Berkshire Apartment complex.

"We've ruled out arson, and we strongly suspect smoking on the couch is what started it," said Hockersmith.

Harrodsburg fire units were dispatched to the fire at 10:41 p.m. where they found Wanda Coleman, 48, inside. Firefighters brought her out of the apartment and managed to resuscitate her using CPR, but she later died at James B. Haggin Hospital.

Another occupant, David Pemberton, 34, escaped the fire without injuries.

Coleman, who was confined to a wheelchair, died of smoke inhalation, according to Mercer County Coroner David "Sonny" Ransdell.

The apartments are owned by Winterwood, Inc.

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