UPDATE: Woman found dead after La Crosse fire; division chief says fire not intentional

This story has been updated since it was first published.

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — La Crosse firefighters responded to a report of a smoke alarm going off inside the home near 22nd and Ferry Streets Monday night, and found the homeowner dead inside.

How the woman died is still under investigation.

The fire department responded just before 8 p.m. Monday.

Crews did not see any fire coming from the outside, but they went in and found the fire already out.

La Crosse Fire Department officials say they don’t know if Monday night’s house fire caused the homeowner to die, but it’s something they never want to see.

“It’s very unfortunate, yeah,” division chief Steven Cash said. “We don’t like to see this.”

Cash says the fire originated in the living room.

The woman, who was identified as 71-year-old Peggy Crowley, was found near the back exit of the home.

Cash says the fire is not intentional and no foul play is suspected, but the cause is undetermined.

“You can’t really determine if it’s a single element that caused the fire,” Cash said.

The fire happened during Fire Prevention Week.

This time of year is when people are reminded to check their smoke alarms.

Community risk coordinator Pat Corran says with a working smoke alarm, your chance of surviving a fire increases by more than half.

“And they really are one of the greatest public health inventions to come around in the last several generations,” Corran said.

But since the smoke detector was going off during Monday’s fire, Corran says it’s what makes this investigation tricky.

“You know, there’s sometimes these really unique situations that happen in this line of work that you can’t really pinpoint, doesn’t really fit into a certain box,” Corran said.

The cause of Crowley’s death with be determined by the La Crosse County Medical Examiner’s Office.

As of now, it has not released that information.

Original story:

A La Crosse woman was found dead Monday after La Crosse Fire Department responded to a small fire in her home.

The fire department responded at about 7:50 p.m. Monday to a report of a smoke detector sounding inside a woman’s home at 432 22nd St. S. Fire crews smelled smoke, but weren’t able to see any evidence of a fire outside.

Crews entered the home to investigate and found that a fire had occurred in the home, but had extinguished itself. Peggy Crowley, the homeowner, was found dead inside.

The residence sustained heavy fire and smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the La Crosse Fire Department and the La Crosse Police Department. Tri-State Ambulance also responded to the fire.

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