Fire Kills Elderly Woman in West Hartford

Alternative heating source may have sparked blaze, fire officials said.

By Bob Connors
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 5:35 PM EDT
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Fire Kills Elderly Woman in West Hartford

NBC Connecticut

A a teacher at the University of Hartford was killed in a fire at her home in West Hartford.

Flames broke out inside the home on High Wood Road around 9 p.m. Tuesday. A man was able to get out of the home, but his wife was trapped in a back bedroom and died in the fire, according to fire officials.

The victim was identified as Ida Schaechter, according to Dave Isgur, Public Relations Director for the University of Hartford.  Schaechter was an adjunct instructor at the school.

The area has been without power since Saturday, and investigators are looking into the possibility that the couple was using an alternative source to heat their home and that it was that source that caused the fire.

Firefighters tried to get into the home to rescue to Schaechter, but were turned back by flames. According to fire officials, firefighters had trouble getting to fire hydrants around the home because of storm debris.

"There's a large tree across the road. We had to hand stretch our supply line, and drag it all the way to the hydrant," said West Hartford Battalion Chief Neal Fisher.

Firefighters said on Wednesday that they were able to run a hose beneath the tree. 

Water pressure from the hydrants was low because so many homes in the area were working off the same water source, according to Fisher.

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