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SLEEPING MOTHER OF 2 LOSES LIFE IN BLAZE

A 39-year-old mother of two died this morning after a fire swept through her home on Schutrum Street near Broadway, fire officials said.

Firefighters pulled Clarisse Bailey from 75 Schutrum, a two-family home near Broadway and Pullman Place. She was pronounced dead later in the Erie County Medical Center.

Bailey was sleeping on a first-floor couch when the fire started, said Lt. Garnell M. Smith, commander of the city's Fire Investigation Unit. Bailey lived alone in a lower apartment, while a woman and her two children lived upstairs.

"We believe she awoke and her clothing and skin were on fire," said Smith. "She began running around and became disoriented."

The upstairs neighbors reported hearing "commotion" downstairs and awoke.

"They heard things being knocked over and went downstairs, saw smoke and exited the home," Smith said. "They heard her screaming 'Help me, help me, call 911.' "

Bailey lived alone in the apartment. Her children live with her estranged husband, Smith said.

Another neighbor called 911 at about 1:40 a.m., reporting the house fire with people trapped inside.

Firefighters arrived at the 2 1/2 -story home and found the fire engulfing the first floor of the home. Firefighters broke through the front door and found the woman unconscious, lying in a first-floor bedroom.

Paramedics rushed Bailey to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Smith said the firefighter who helped removed the woman from the home suffered a minor back injury but remained on duty.

The other occupants escaped the home uninjured. The Red Cross is assisting the woman and her two children. Authorities said damage to the house is estimated at $20,000 to the building and $10,000 to the contents.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

e-mail: vthomas@buffnews.com

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