NEWS

Smoke inhalation cause of death in Withrow Avenue fire

11/23/2014 05:32 EST | Updated 01/23/2015 05:59 EST
An autopsy has confirmed that smoke inhalation caused the death of an elderly woman at a home on Withrow Avenue in Toronto's Riverdale neighbourhood, police say.

The deadly blaze at 282 Withrow Ave. broke out in the early hours of Friday morning. An 81-year-old woman who lived in the home was sleeping on the ground floor at the time of the fire.

The home collapsed and the woman who lived there was found inside.

Toronto police have not identified the deceased.

Neighbour Suzanne Gerweck said that the deceased woman was an avid gardener and a friendly face in the neighbourhood.

"She lived on the street before I did and I've been here for 17 years," Gerweck said Sunday. "She was very friendly, often puttering out in her garden [and] would talk to everybody as they went by."

Gerweck never learned her neighbour's last name while she was still alive, but believed she grew up from Kirkland Lake, Ont., and was a retired nurse.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but it is not believed to be suspicious. The Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating.

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