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Woman dies after jump to escape 4th floor fire

Date Posted: 2009-04-09

Police and fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that caused a 56-year-old Urasoe City woman to jump from her fourth floor apartment, dying when she hit the pavement below.

Flames were pouring from the top floor of the four-story building about 7:30 p.m. Monday as firefighters arrived in the Urasoe City Iso area. “Our neighbor’s apartment is on fire,” the emergency caller told dispatchers. As firemen battled the blaze for 1½ hours, police found Mitsuko Mekaru lying on the parking lot behind the apartment building.

She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Officials say she was bleeding from head injuries, and had burns on her shoulder and arm. The fire in her apartment was severe, particularly the dining room. Police say they think she tried to flee, but couldn’t reach the door. Instead, she went to the balcony and tried to jump.

As investigators canvassed the area, they found a neighbor who witnessed the woman’s death. The man told police that he had shouted “Hey, stop jumping. Wait, wait,” but said she didn’t listen, and jumped.

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