Firefighters suspect smoking in fatal Oceanside fire - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Firefighters suspect smoking in fatal Oceanside fire

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OCEANSIDE (CNS/CBS 8) - Firefighters found the body of a 71-year-old Oceanside woman early Monday while putting out a fire that spread through her mobile home.

The blaze in the 200 block of North El Camino Real erupted about 12:45 a.m., fire Battalion Chief Joe Ward said. It took crews about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames.

Preliminary evidence suggested that the blaze was sparked by a cigarette the woman was smoking in bed, according to police.

The woman's nephew made it out safely after jumping out of a window, and two cats were also rescued as the fire tore through the mobile home.

His aunt was found in a back bedroom. The victim, whose name was withheld pending family notification, died at the scene despite medics' lifesaving efforts, Ward said.

"This is devastating, she was always out here, I've known a lot of people in the park," said neighbor, Noreen Alghannudi.

Neighbors left flowers on the porch Monday, heartbroken in this tight-knit community.

"I just wanted to give them flowers. I don't have much but it's from yesterday's wedding. I just wanted to give something to the family," said Alghannudi.

A neighbor, who delivered groceries to the woman's door, says she was disabled and used a scooter and a walker to get around.

"I feel bad because she's such a nice lady, and I'm sure with all the family she has they'll be shaken up," said neighbor, Fred Coburn.

Neighbors also say the elderly woman was a very friendly person who stayed in the house most of the time though she had many relatives visit often.

"If they need anything we're here, they can reach out. Some people handle grief differently," said neighbor, Bobbie Pysczynski.

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