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UPDATE: Woman identified as victim in deadly garage fire

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(UPDATE 3:30 PM) -- The Peoria County Coroner has identified the person killed in a garage fire in Peoria Friday morning.

Laurie A. Helms, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:36 AM.

Coroner Jamie Harwood says Helms' last address was in Canton, and it's unclear why she lived in the garage or if she lived at the address on South Stanley.

An autopsy was completed on Helms Friday afternoon, which determined the woman suffered smoke inhalation and "extensive burns throughout 90% of her body."

"Due to information and evidence recovered from the scene, toxicology is pending for possible contributing factors," Harwood said in a release.

The Peoria Fire Department and Police Department are still investigating the cause of the fire.


PEORIA (WEEK) -- A deadly garage fire is under investigation in Peoria.

Peoria Fire crews were called to the 1900 block of South Stanley Street at 8:00 AM Friday for a garage fire.

When they arrived, light smoke was coming from the detached garage behind the house.

Once inside, PFD was able to knock the fire down within three minutes, but visibility was low because the garage door had been wired shut.

When the door was opened and the smoke cleared, crews found a person who was dead on a couch, "where the main body of fire was," a PFD release said.

No other injuries have been reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Peoria Fire Arson investigators were called to the scene.

The deceased person's cause of death has not been released, pending an autopsy and a release from the Peoria County Coroner.

Sheridan Swathwood

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