On January 11, 2017

Elderly woman dies of severe burns after kitchen fire

BENNINGTON—On Jan. 3 at about 6:30 p.m. the Bennington Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at the Cora B. Whitney Apartments, 814 Gage St. The fire was located in Apt. 20 and the tenant, Charlotte A. Morrill, age 79, was transported by Bennington Rescue Squad to the Southern Vermont Medical Center. Morrill had suffered second and third degree burns to over 90 percent of her body, police reported. She succumbed to her injuries at SVMC later that evening.
That same day Chief Vickers contacted the Vermont State Police and requested an origin-and-cause investigation. An investigation was conducted Jan. 4, with two detectives from the Vt. State Police Fire Investigation Unit, an investigator from the Division of Fire Safety, a detective from Bennington Police, and Chief Vickers.
Investigation showed that the fire started when the shirt Morrill was wearing caught fire while she was cooking food on the kitchen stove. At the time of the incident, Morrill may have been experiencing a separate medical issue that prevented or hampered her from extinguishing the fire to her clothing, the investigative team hypothesized. It was determined that the cause of the fatal fire was an accidental clothing ignition from a cooking stove.

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