Elderly woman dies stoking fire in Glenwood home

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(GLENWOOD) An elderly woman died of smoke inhalation while stoking a blaze in her fireplace Thursday morning in south suburban Glenwood.

Officers performed a well-being check at the home of 81-year-old Wilhelmina Tomek about 9:10 a.m. and discovered the house in the 200 block of Rainbow Drive filled with smoke, Glenwood Fire Chief Kevin Welsh said.

Firefighters found Tomek just inside the back door near the kitchen, Walsh said. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 9:50 a.m., according to the medical examiner’s office.

Welsh said it appeared Tomek was stoking a fire in the fireplace when “something went horribly wrong.” The fire came back out at her and consumed most of the room, he said.

Tomek was a longtime resident of Glenwood whose husband died four years ago, Welsh said.

An autopsy found she died of smoke inhalation and her death was ruled an accident, the medical examiner’s office said.

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