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Coroner: Woman found in crammed apartment died of smoke inhalation
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Alice Law was found in a Gainesville apartment filled with fire and items stacked to the ceiling. Just days after officials deemed the space unsafe due to hoarding, the apartment’s owner, Law, was pronounced dead, according to city spokeswoman Nikki Perry.

An 84-year-old woman found March 25 in her scorched Gainesville apartment died of smoke inhalation, officials said.

Deputy coroner Kevin Wetzel told The Times Thursday, April 4, of Alice “Faye” Law’s cause of death. Law was discovered after a fire in her Candler Square apartment.

Days before the fire, Gainesville code enforcement deemed the apartment unfit for living. 

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A tag is on the door of a burned out unit at Candler Square apartments Monday, March 25, 2019. Earlier Monday morning Gainesville firefighters responded to a fire call at the unit and found a woman in her late 80s inside. - photo by Scott Rogers

Items were stacked several feet high. Firefighters were hitting their helmets on the ceiling when they climbed through her former domicile.

The power had been cut off March 15, and her niece had reported that her aunt had asked for matches to burn candles, according to a report from code enforcement.

Gainesville city spokeswoman Nikki Perry said the hoarding situation first came to the city’s attention in 2015. Between September 2015 and June 2016, Code Enforcement and the woman’s Adult Protective Services case worker visited regularly and coordinated with junk removal companies to clean up the apartment. Faye returned to the home that June.

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Gainesville firefighters encountered a condemned condo filled with items as they arrived at Candler Square Apartments Monday, March 25, 2019, to battle a fire in one of the units. A woman in her late 80s died after being found in the condos. - photo by Scott Rogers

In January of this year, a plumber contacted the fire marshal about the conditions in the unit, according to a report by Sarah Wilson-Britt, code enforcement manager.

Code enforcement responded and filed a report with Adult Protective Services. Faye’s caseworker, Mindy Sampson, and Wilson-Britt worked with her to address the situation, according to Wilson-Britt’s report.

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Gainesville Fire Department Division Chief Keith Smith inspects a hole cut into a ceiling by firefighters Monday, March 25, 2019, at Candler Square Apartments. A woman in her late 80s died after being found by firefighters putting out a fire at the condos on Candler Street in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers