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Woman found dead in home died of smoke inhalation

LAWRENCEVILLE - The woman found dead in a house fire Friday succumbed to smoke inhalation, a medical examiner ruled Saturday.

Fire investigators believe the fire at 3403 Mill Grove Terrace was caused by careless smoking. It has been ruled accidental, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

Pamela Chance, 55, was found on the floor in an upstairs bedroom of the Dacula home Friday afternoon. Rutledge said Chance may have been trying to reach a window.

"It doesn't take long for someone to succumb to carbon monoxide," Rutledge said. "It can happen within a matter of moments."

The fire originated in the basement, Rutledge said, and it appears to have used all the oxygen in the basement and self-extinguised before it could spread to the rest of the house.

Firefighters found embers in the basement when they arrived, Rutledge said. Chance's son called 911 when he returned home and discovered smoke and soot.