Fatal Columbia fire is ruled an accident

May 27, 2007|By Melissa Harris

Howard County investigators have determined that a fire that killed an 83-year-old Columbia woman was accidental, said William Mould, spokesman for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Mould said the blaze started Wednesday morning in a second-floor bedroom in the 9500 block of Windbeat Way. The bedroom had been converted into a home office and prayer room.

Mould identified the victim as Bina Pani Das.

"We have learned from the family that [the victim], along with other family members, used this room to pray in and from time to time would light candles and incense to profess her faith," Mould said. "We're not sure if she was doing that at the time of the fire."

Given the damage to the room, the cause of the fire remains unknown, Mould said. A computer was in the room, but neither it nor other electrical devices are suspected of sparking the fire, Mould said.

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