A woman who suffered severe burns from a fire in her Toronto apartment on Friday night has died.
City officials confirmed Paula Vanihel, 59, died Saturday morning after being transported first to Weirton Medical Center and from there to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of burns.
Toronto Fire Chief Bill Scheel said following an investigation involving the state fire marshal’s office, it appeared the fire originated from a radiator in the living room of the apartment.
He confirmed that Toronto police found Vanihel outside his apartment when they arrived.
Scheel added that they ensured others evacuated apartments in the complex in the 300 block of Stewart Street and assisted firefighters as they worked to put out the blaze.
“I can’t say enough for the work of our police department,” he said.
City firefighters and members of the Stratton, Empire, Knox Township, Pottery Addition, Steubenville and Mingo Junction fire departments worked through the night to contain and extinguish the blaze.
Several entered adjacent apartments and approached the roof from a ladder truck.
A firefighter fell when a small set of steps leading to one of the apartments collapsed as he climbed, but he was not seriously injured.
Neighbors said they saw flames shoot several feet into the air from the apartment complex, which has six units.
Funeral arrangements for Vanihel are being handled by JE Foster Funeral Home.
An obituary published by the funeral home revealed that she was employed by the Weirton Walmart and had worked for many years at the Toronto branch of Sky Bank. She was also a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Toronto Eagles Lodge.
His family requested that memorial contributions be made to the church and the Toronto Fire Department.