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House fire claims the life of woman

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SOUTH SALT LAKE — A South Salt Lake woman died Monday in a fire at her home.

When firefighters arrived at 123 E. Vidas St. Monday morning, passers-by had already pulled her out of the burning home. Oralyn Reay, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sonny Gines said he smelled smoke as he was on his porch Monday morning, then went to his neighbor's house across the street and started knocking on the doors and windows. No one responded.

"I kicked in the door and tried to go in, but it was like a smoke box," he said.

Instead, he ran around the back of the house and threw a rake through a bedroom window in an attempt to clear out some of the smoke. When he returned to the front of the house, another man was pulling Reay out of the house and he jumped in to help.

The woman was dead by the time firefighters arrived, said South Salt Lake deputy fire chief Kevin Bowman.

Investigators did not know yet what caused the fire, but Bowman noted that Reay, who lived alone, was a smoker. She did not appear to have been burned and investigators suspect she died from inhaling smoke, but an exact cause of death was still being determined by a medical examiner.

I kicked in the door and tried to go in, but it was like a smoke bomb.

–Sonny Gines

Damage to the home was estimated at $100,000. The blaze was reported at 10:18 a.m.

"The house is pretty much gutted," Bowman said.

He said the fire has been ruled accidental but the extent of damage inside the home makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the flames.

Gines said the fire appeared to be coming from a small room in the house, either a bathroom or a furnace room. He said the woman's dog was trying to enter the home during the fire, but he took it from the house and gave it to neighbors to care for.


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