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Autopsy: Woman’s death an accident in September house fire near Derby

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at 4:55 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, at 5:57 p.m.

A 53-year-old woman’s death in a fire near Derby last month has been ruled an accident.

The Regional Forensic Science Center in Wichita said this week that Kathy O’Brien, whose body was found Sept. 10 in her two-story home on 87th Street South near Greenwich Road, died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

The cause of the blaze remains undetermined, Sedgwick County Deputy Fire Marshal Greg Harlan said Friday, but fire officials do not suspect foul play.

The fire was reported by a passerby who saw a glow in the sky southeast of Derby shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 10.

Firefighters “immediately went defensive” upon arriving at the scene, and the roof of the house fell in and burned. Sedgwick County firefighters were assisted by crews from Rose Hill, Derby and Mulvane.

The victim’s body was discovered in the rubble later that morning.

O’Brien was a creative director at Pioneer Balloon Co.

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