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Disabled Woman Dies In Rochester House Fire

ROCHESTER (KDKA)- The state police fire marshal's office is looking into a deadly fire in Rochester.

Police and firefighters were called to the scene along Case Street around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Officials say the fire engulfed the bedroom where the victim slept.

"The police department was here, reported a woman was trapped," said Rochester Fire Chief Ed Hermick. "They tried to make entry and make a rescue, but they were unable to do so because of the smokey conditions."

"It was too heavy, just too heavy. They had to get a little ventilation going to get the house cleared out so they could even see what they were doing in there," neighbor Stacey Figas said.

Firefighters arrived a few minutes later and were able to go inside and pull a woman out of the home. She later died from her injuries.

Neighbor Sharon Craig says the victim had lived there for about six years and used a motorized wheelchair to get around. However, she was starting to slowly walk again.

"I took care of her for three-and-a-half years," said Craig. "She was my best buddy. She was a really good person, and it's sad."

Craig identified the victim as 57-year-old Elizabeth Goodwin, commonly known as "Beej."

"You'd see her zooming up and down the street going to the stores in the wheelchair to her doctor's appointments. She loved being outside. She hated being shut in and was an all around good person," Craig said.

Goodwin also had professional health aides that would come in and help her with things. She didn't have any family in the area.

"From what neighbors tell us, she lives alone. She recently had family move out a few months ago, but she lived alone," said Chief Hermick.

"Little bit sad that she was here all by herself from California. That was her goal this summer - to try and get her house fixed up," Craig said.

Fire officials say Goodwin's dog, two cats and two birds also died in the fire.

While it's unclear how the fire started, neighbors have their suspicions.

"She had been a smoker in the past and she was on oxygen. Something could have short-circuited. She had a bed that went up and down,' Craig said.

"We're all a tight knit community and watch out for each other and it's hard seeing stuff going on that we don't have any control over,' Figas said.

The state police fire marshal's office is looking into the cause.

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