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A 75-year-old woman suffered third-degree burns to 45 percent of her body Tuesday in a fire in her Linwood Avenue home, fire officials said.

Willie Lee Weathers, 723 Linwood Ave., was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after she was rescued from the burning house by Fire Capt. Mark Gray and Firefighter David Barr.

She was listed in critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit with severe burns to her face, neck, chest and both arms, a hospital official said.

The fire started at 12:31 p.m., apparently while Weathers was on the telephone with a neighbor, Battalion Chief John Fitzpatrick said.

The neighbor heard something and became suspicious when Weathers did not continue the conversation. Checking the house, he saw the fire and called for help, Fitzpatrick said.

Upon arrival, Barr and Gray went into the house, walked through the burning living room and found Weathers, overcome and badly burned, near the stairway leading to a side door. They pulled her out while other firefighters started fighting the blaze, he said.

The fire did an estimated $35,000 damage to the 2 1/2 -story frame house and $10,000 damage to its contents, officials said.

It was greatly intensified when Weathers' oxygen tank burst open, Fitzpatrick said.

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