Collinsville woman dies in house fire Sunday

A Collinsville woman died in her bedroom during a house fire early Sunday morning, possibly having fallen asleep while smoking.

Darlene Stovall, 82, was found in her home at 1109 Ridge shortly after Collinsville firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire after midnight Sunday. Upon arriving, firefighters saw flames coming out of one of the windows in the front of the house, according to Collinsville Fire Chief Mark Emert.

Firefighters forced entry to the house and put out the fire, whereupon they found Stovall in the front bedroom, Emert said. Stovall was pronounced dead at the scene.

While the Illinois State Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation of the cause, Emert said Stovall may have fallen asleep while smoking. There was no smoke detector mounted on the ceilings in the house, he said; there were two lying on the kitchen table, but one wasn’t functioning and the other was only beeping quietly. “It couldn’t have awakened her,” he said.

The fire was mostly contained to the front bedroom, though there was smoke and heat damage throughout the residence, Emert said. The Madison County Coroner’s Office will conduct an autopsy later Sunday to confirm the cause of Stovall’s death, he said.