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Oxford House

Fire crews respond Tuesday to Oxford House Apartments, where one person was found dead. Macon County Coroner Michael Day identified her Wednesday as Jane Morthland, 62. 

CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW

DECATUR — Fire inspectors said Thursday that smoking materials were the cause of a Tuesday fire at a Decatur senior-living facility in which a woman was found dead in her apartment.

Decatur Fire Department Inspector Brad Gillmar said initial reports indicate cigarettes may have been the specific smoking materials that led to the fire at the Oxford House Apartments, but the department's investigation is ongoing. 

On Tuesday, Decatur fire Battalion Chief Mike McGeehon said firefighters were sent to the apartment complex, 2700 N. Monroe St., shortly before 5 p.m. The fire was contained to a third-floor apartment, where the body of 62-year-old Jane Morthland was found inside.

Gillmar said the fire caused $10,000 of damage to the building and $4,000 of damage to the contents inside of Morthland's apartment. 

Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day said Wednesday that an autopsy was performed on Morthland at the McLean County Coroner's Morgue that afternoon. Preliminary results showed no signs of traumatic injury or foul play, he said. 

While a fire was extinguished in the area where Morthland was found, Day said the official cause of death is pending further toxicology and forensic testing. It may take several weeks for those tests to be completed, he said. 

McGeehon said the fire was put out within 10 minutes. Third-floor residents were moved to lower floors as firefighters worked and returned to their apartments once the fire was out, he said. No other injuries were reported. 

jcook@herald-review.com | (217) 421-7980

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