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New Philadelphia woman dies in New Year’s Day apartment fire

| January 2, 2024

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (January 2, 2024) – A 61-year-old woman died in an apartment fire on New Year’s Day.

Fire Chief Jim Parrish says firefighters responded to a call at 3:37 a.m. of smoke coming from at apartment in the 400 block of 2nd Drive NE.

“When the firefighters arrived on the scene with the first engine, they had heavy smoke coming out of the apartment. Upon doing the primary search, they found Karla Staley, 61 years old, and she was unresponsive and not breathing.”

Parrish says firefighters removed the woman from the kitchen area of the apartment and began lifesaving measures. Smith Ambulance with assistance from Dover first responders transported her to Union Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Officials are waiting for autopsy results, but Parrish says smoke inhalation appears to be the cause.

Parrish says the fire was accidental and started in the kitchen. His department is still investigating the cause.

Fire damage was contained to the kitchen with smoke damage throughout the apartment and into neighboring apartments. Parrish says there was a smoke detector, but it was not operating.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of smoke detectors. There was a smoke detector in the apartment but it was not operating, so, again, another reminder to check your smoke detectors periodically, at least monthly, and make sure you’re maintaining the batteries.”

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