Sad story out of the Mill Creek section of West Philly tonight. A physically disabled 80-year-old woman died in a fire that started when she microwaved a sandwich that was wrapped in aluminum foil and paper.
Nicole Swaayze lived alone in her 4th floor apartment at Katie B. Jackson Plaza, a seniors-only facility run by the Philadelphia Housing Authority at 50th Street and Haverford Avenue, said PHA spokesman Kirk Dorn.
Dorn said Swaayze relied on an aide to cook her dinner everyday. When the aide didn't show up today, Swaayze tried to fix herself dinner. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said the elderly woman pulled the sandwich out of the microwave when it caught fire, and the flames spread onto her clothes as well. Swaayze became the 23rd person to die in a city fire this year. Ayers said the number of fatal fires stood at 37 at this point a year ago. Two other elderly residents at Jackson Plaza had to be treated for smoke inhalation, Ayers said.
It was unclear why Swaayze's aide -- who did not work for PHA -- never showed up, Dorn said.