- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - The death of a woman killed in a Valentine’s Day house fire has been ruled an accident.

Ocean County authorities announced Tuesday that 64-year-old Ellen Tanner died from smoke inhalation and heat-related injuries she suffered in the fire at her Toms River home. A 67-year-old man who also lived at the home and a firefighter both suffered burns that were not considered life-threatening.

Investigators say the fire started in a plastic trash can in the home’s basement. They ruled the fire an accident and said improperly discarded smoking material could not be eliminated as the cause.

Authorities say Tanner was inside the home when firefighters and law enforcement officers arrived on scene. Efforts to rescue her were hampered by heavy smoke and extreme heat from the fire.

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