Monday, May 28 , 2018, 2:08 am | Mostly Cloudy 58º


Local News

Sheriff Names Woman Killed in Montecito House Fire

The elderly woman found dead Monday morning after a fire swept through a Montecito home has been identified as 88-year-old Lorraine Mathilda Schmerzler.

Schmerzler lived in the Loureyo Road home that burned, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday. 

The cause of death has not been determined, and an autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Hoover said she didn't know whether Schmerzler was the only resident of the home. 

Smoke from the structure fire could be seen from miles away, and Montecito firefighters were assisted by crews from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department and the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by Montecito Fire Protection District investigators and other members of the Santa Barbara County Arson Task Force including representatives from Carpinteria-Summerland Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire and the District Attorney's Office, Montecito Fire Protection District spokeswoman Geri Ventura said.

Firefighters responded to the home at 7:27 a.m. Monday and worked to put out the flames. The home’s roof collapsed in one area about five minutes after firefighters arrived, which is caused by extremely high heat, and that delayed the interior attack on the fire, Ventura said.

They were also hampered by brush and trees growing right against the structure, which she called a lack of defensible space.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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