Baldwin Village fire likely sparked by candle


Authorities initially deemed the blaze suspicious, but later determined the fire was likely an accident. Officials believe the victim lit a candle, then fell asleep.

Thick smoke and flames woke up residents inside the two-story apartment building on the 3900 block of Ursula Avenue.

One tenant said someone called her around 2 a.m. alerting her about her neighbor's fire.

"The neighbor upstairs, she came and was banging on my door, and we came out, and it was fire. Really fire, you could see the fire," said Connie Tolden, a neighbor.

Forty-one firefighters worked quickly to put out the flames. It took them 13 minutes to extinguish it.

When crews went through the unit, that's when they found the body of an elderly woman in the living room.

The 33-unit building houses mostly senior citizens. Neighbors say the victim was kind, quiet and thoughtful to everyone's grandchildren. She made a special something for 6-month-old Marcus. His mom still can't believe the woman died in the fire.

"That's the lady who gave my son his first little tie. She made it for him by hand. She used to make stuff. She was a real cool lady," said Tashanna, another neighbor.

The fire was contained to one-lower level unit. Residents say despite the loss, it could have been worse.

"I feel blessed. I thank and praise God. My heart goes out, I'm compassionate for the family that lost, but I thank and praise God his favor was on my family," Tolden said.

Fire officials urged residents to blow out candles before going to sleep or leaving the house.

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