A Michigan City woman died Sunday in a fire caused by food left on the stove, authorities said.
Rosemary Hill, 65, may have been trying to find her way out of the smoke-filled residence when she collapsed and died, said Michigan City Fire Marshal Randy Novak.
Novak said it appears Hill put a pot of food on the stove and left the burner on then fell asleep.
She apparently was awakened by a smoke detector, but for some reason was unable to make her way to safety, he said.
"It appears she may have been trying to get out," Novak said.
"Everybody feels real bad about it. I don't know what went wrong," said LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan.
Firefighters about 4 a.m. Sunday arrived in the 100 block of Brighton Court on the city's south side to heavy smoke and flames, which were brought under control in about 10 minutes, officials said.
Hill lived alone in a duplex.
"She was friendly," said Henrietta White, who lives next to the adjacent burned out unit in the same building.
White said Hill lived there for less than a year and seemed nice whenever they spoke to each other in passing.
She and her husband were awakened by a passerby then she spotted firefighters trying to make their way inside the victim's unit.
"That's a bad way to die," said White, whose unit was not damaged by the fire.
Sullivan said an autopsy Monday afternoon revealed Hill died from smoke and soot inhalation.
"It's an unfortunate case," Sullivan said.