Woman dies after falling from burning apartment

A woman apparently plunged to her death from an eighth-floor window of an apartment that caught fire in the Tenderloin on Sunday morning.

At 5:30 a.m., firefighters responded to reports of a bedroom blaze on the eighth floor of the Trinity Towers, 888 O’Farrell St., a modern high rise with hundreds of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

When firefighters arrived, the woman was lying on the pavement after hitting a small street-level tree, and a man was sitting in the doorway of the apartment with burns and inhaling smoke, police Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said.

The man, in his 30s, was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. After administering CPR, the woman, who was not been identified as of Sunday afternoon, was taken to a hospital, where she died.

The flames did not affect neighboring units and were contained within 15 minutes.

However, Dangerfield could not say how much damage the fire caused.

Dangerfield did not know the relationship between the man and woman, but he said it seemed as if they were living together.

Residents in one of the towers said they did not hear a fire alarm but were told over an intercom to stay in their apartments, though no reason was given. Later, residents said they were told it was safe to leave and that a fire had been extinguished.

“I had no idea what was going on,” said Nancy Oat, 41, who said she’s lived in the building for more years than she can remember. “My husband was worried too. But, it’s weird we didn’t hear anything because they test the alarms all the time.”

Dangerfield said homicide detectives are not involved, and the scene presents investigation challenges because the woman had been removed from the scene by the time police arrived and items throughout the apartment were moved around and drenched with water.

Initial reports indicated that the fire could have started from the mattress, but the cause has not been determined.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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