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Apartment building fire claims life of woman

SCRANTON (AP) - Authorities say an early morning fire at a northeastern Pennsylvania apartment building claimed the life of a woman.

Fire crews in North Scranton were called to the building at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday and were forced to use a pull station to set off audible alarms to alert sleeping tenants.

The Lackawanna County coroner says 57-year old Deborah Ogden was found dead in her first-floor apartment in the three-story building. The cause and manner of her death are pending results of an autopsy.

The city’s Licensing, Inspections and Permits Department immediately condemned the building because of damage and concerns that the alarm system may have malfunctioned. Director Tom Oleski said smoke detectors and heat sensors never activated to alert the county 911 center and set off audio and visual alarms in individual units.

Building manager Tony Fard disputed the idea that the fire alarm system malfunctioned, telling The (Scranton) Times-Tribune that the pull-station alarm worked properly when tripped by firefighters. He suggested that there may not have been enough smoke or heat seeping into the hallway to activate the automatic alarms.

A city fire inspector said the cause is under investigation, but the blaze isn’t considered suspicious.