Officials: Fatal Valentine’s Day fire in Toms River ruled accidental

A fire that killed a 64-year-old Toms River woman on Valentine's Day has been ruled an accident.



Ocean County authorities said Tuesday that Ellen Tanner died from smoke inhalation and heat-related injuries she suffered in the fire at her Toms River home. A 67-year-old man who also lived at the home and a firefighter both suffered burns that were not considered life-threatening while attempting to rescue her.



Investigators say the fire started in a plastic trash can in the home's basement. They ruled the fire an accident and said improperly discarded smoking material could not be eliminated as the cause.



Authorities say Tanner was inside the home when firefighters and law enforcement officers arrived on scene. Efforts to rescue her were hampered by heavy smoke and extreme heat from the fire.



The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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