90-year-old Gleed woman dies in house fire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

90-year-old Gleed woman dies in house fire

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Photo courtesy of Beatrice Sybouts. Photo courtesy of Beatrice Sybouts.

GLEED, Wash. -- Firefighters say a 90-year-old woman died of smoke inhalation in a house fire, Friday night.

It happened around 11 p.m. on the 1400 block of Old Naches Highway in Gleed.

"When I arrived on scene, I found the flames in the front door, and couldn't enter the house because of all of the smoke inside the house," said Captain Dave Monoian, with the Gleed Fire Department.

Crews found Bertha Garrison unconscious on the kitchen floor. Medics performed CPR on Garrison, but she died while on the way to the hospital.

Monoian says this is the first fatality from a fire the district has ever had.

"The smoke was very heavy. The fire had, we feel the fire had been burning for a while," he explained.

Like many of Garrison's neighbors, John Switzer who lives next door says he was shocked to hear about her death and says even saw her earlier that day.

"She was out driving. She'd race me to the paper box across the street to get the paper. She was very active. Very healthy," Switzer explained.

Meanwhile, the Yakima County Fire Marshal stopped by Saturday to inspect the scene. Firefighters say most of the damage was inside the home.

"We think it was started by a portable heater. We're not sure of that. Until we get further investigation and get farther into it, I'm sure we won't know yet," Monoian said.

There were no smoke detectors found inside the home, according to firefighters.

No one else was hurt.

Firefighters consider the fire to be accidental, but the cause is still under investigation.

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