Woman, 66, found dead in burnt home

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A woman was found dead when crews responded to a house fire on Fort Wayne’s near-northeast side late Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called to this home around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in the 2700 block of Clara Avenue, between Rolston and Beacon streets, on a report of a fire there. One person was found dead inside.
Firefighters were called to this home around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in the 2700 block of Clara Avenue, between Rolston and Beacon streets, on a report of a fire there. One person was found dead inside.

Firefighters were called around 11 a.m. to a home at 2721 Clara Avenue, between Rolston and Beacon streets, after family members arrived at the home to check on their mother and found its windows covered in soot.

Inside, the body of 66-year-old Nancy Topp was found. The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday that Topp died of thermal burns from the fire. Her death was ruled an accident.

A dog, too, was found dead, according to a Fort Wayne Fire Department report.

“It kind of hurts a little bit to know that somebody’s dead right across the street from our house,” Anthony Saunders said.

According to fire investigators, there was a fire at the home overnight, with the flames contained inside the home. When firefighters arrived, the fire had burned itself out, the report said.

The small, single-story white home was left with heavy interior damage, officials said. It appeared to sustain little – if any – exterior damage.

“This happens sometimes with fires when they basically choke themselves out and so it burns through the whole cycle and eliminate all the oxygen and it basically snuffs itself out,” Deputy Chief Adam O’Connor of the Fort Wayne Fire Department said. “It’s pretty rare actually. Usually, there’s some kind of opening that the fire will exhaust out of and that’s when people see smoke or flames coming out of the home. They call 911.”

Crews closed the block of Clara Avenue while they investigated the incident.

There is a no-smoking sign on the front door, stating oxygen is inside. A ramp and handicap signs were located directly in front of the house.

Investigators are still determining a cause.

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