An apartment fire early this morning may have resulted in Chattanooga's first fire-related fatality of 2011, officials say.
While battling the flames at a 518 E. Fifth Street apartment building, firefighters found a body in the bathroom, Bruce Garner of the Chattanooga Fire Department said.
Investigators say the victim was a 42-year-old woman, but her identity is being withheld until family is notified.
Calls came into the 911 Center shortly before 2 a.m., he said. Six fire companies arrived to find the fire in a back bedroom and bathroom in an apartment on the first floor.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to those two rooms in the two-story house which had been converted into several apartment units.
The victim's sister was asleep in the apartment when the fire broke out, Fire Investigator Andy Waters said. He said the victim's sister is deaf, but a smoke alarm equipped with a strobe light for the hearing impaired woke the woman up and she managed to escape unharmed.
Investigators are currently trying to determine the cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the woman's death, Garner said.
Residents in the other apartment units were uninjured, he said.