Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

Woman dies in Brandon house fire

BRANDON — A 58-year-old woman died Monday after firefighters pulled her and her boyfriend from a burning home, authorities said.

The fire was ruled an accident, probably the result of her smoking in bed.

Karen Partenheimer was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Her boyfriend, Wieslaw Wolert, 52, was evaluated for injuries at the scene and released. He owns the one-story home, at 1610 Southwind Drive.

Wolert came home from work Monday to discover the bedroom fire, according to fire officials. He called 911 and was performing CPR on Partenheimer when fire crews arrived, officials said.

A cat also died in the fire.

Hillsborough Fire Rescue, the state fire marshal's office and the Sheriff's Office investigated and determined that the blaze was the result of an accidental mattress fire. Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Bermudez Nunez said officials believe that Partenheimer had been smoking in bed.

The bedroom sustained heavy fire damage. The house, which records show was built in 1986, had smoke damage.

The Red Cross was assisting Wolert with food, clothing and shelter, according to fire officials.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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