Police: Woman dies while trying to escape Coram apartment fire

Posted: Updated:
CORAM -

A fast-moving fire that engulfed an apartment complex in Coram left one woman dead and displaced several of her neighbors.

The fire started around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in a first-floor apartment at the Fairfield Courtyard on Country Club Drive.

Dottie Carpin, who lives directly upstairs, says she saw smoke coming from below and quickly called 911.

Police say 71-year-old Susan Harelick made it out of her apartment. But once outside, they say she collapsed and that part of an awning fell on top of her. Officials say she then likely succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Firefighters and police were able to rescue 10 other people.

Officials are investigating whether there were working smoke alarms in the building.

The fire is not considered suspicious. Police are looking into a number of possible causes, including whether a lit cigarette is to blame.

Police say Harelick used an oxygen tank to assist her breathing.

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