Victim of West Allis senior residence fire identified

WEST ALLIS (WITI) -- The 70-year-old victim of Thursday's fatal fire at a senior residence in West Allis was in a wheelchair -- and first responders are taking the death hard.

Carol Krajcir died as a result of a fire at Heritage House Thursday evening, February 6th. Four others were injured in the blaze.

"It was very smoky and residents were concerned, upset and very sad," said West Allis assistant fire chief Martin King.

According to officials, Krajcir's unit at the facility was filled with smoke as two maintenance workers and an assistant chief, without protective equipment, attempted to get inside.

"The couldn't even get past opening the door it was so bad," King said.

When first responders finally got in, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's report indicates they found Kajcir in her wheelchair with her head back. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"Our job is to try to save lives and then when we can't, it makes it very, very hard for some of the members," said King.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. Electrical issues have been ruled out, however officials are still looking into careless cigarette smoking.

"The common causes of fires within, not only the city of West Allis, but the United States, is smoking. So forgetting to get rid of cigarettes, dumping it out when they're still hot," said King.

The Medical Examiner's report indicates a partially consumed bottle of vodka was discovered in the unit and the fire is believed to have started on a couch.