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February 27, 2013

Woman killed in house fire

MT. VERNON — — A College Street woman is dead after a fire in her home on Tuesday morning.

Donna Romano, 63, of 2023 College St., died in the fire, which was reported by a neighbor at 9:55 a.m. Tuesday morning.

"She was physically disabled and trapped inside," Mt. Vernon Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Sargent said. "She needed assistance to move about for her daily activities."

The call came into dispatch at 9:55 a.m., according to records. MVFD arrived on the scene at 9:58 a.m.

"When we arrived, neighbors had tried to gain entry to get her out," Sargent said. "Police had arrived and tried to gain entry. Unfortunately, there was too much smoke and too much heat."

Sargent said when firefighters arrived, they went in to do search and rescue.

"They were met with intense heat and smoke," Sargent said. "They made their way to the victim, and determined she was already deceased. At that point, they focused the operation on putting the fire out."

Sargent said Romano had a makeshift bedroom in the front living room area of the home, and included a hospital bed.

"At this time, the State Fire Marshall, Mt. Vernon Police Department Detective Division and (MVFD) have investigated and concur the fire was an electrical fire caused by overloading an extension cord," Sargent said. "The home had 60 amp service, when most have 100 to 200 amp service. We still have lots of homes in the city that are older and have 60 amp service. That can overload quickly with today's appliances. It's times like this that makes us step back and say to all citizens to look around their homes and see if there is a potential to have a fire like this."

Sargent said residents should use proper extension cords rated for what it will be used for. In addition, Sargent said all homes should have a working smoke detector that is tested on a regular basis.

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