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Autopsy: Woman burned to death in Hyde Park fire

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The death of a woman found dead after a house fire more than a month ago in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side has been ruled an accident.

Faye Yates, 68, was found dead after the fire Dec. 7 in the 5400 block of South Cornell, according to the Chicago Fire Department and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. She lived in the same block.

Yates was found near the couch in the apartment’s living room and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

An autopsy did not initially rule on her cause of death, but the medical examiner’s office announced Wednesday that Yates died of thermal injuries from an apartment fire “due to probable careless use of smoking materials.” Fentanyl use and cardiovascular disease were listed as secondary causes. Her death was ruled an accident.

Firefighters responded to the blaze shortly before 5 a.m. in the seven-story apartment building, according to CFD Deputy District Chief Michael Del Greco. The fire was contained to the seventh floor apartment and was extinguished within 30 minutes.

No other injuries were reported and no foul play was suspected, authorities said.