OGDEN -- A neighbor who heard a smoke alarm go off in the early hours Tuesday morning could not react because of her own mobility issues.
A few hours later, Christine Romero discovered that her friend had been found dead in her apartment, apparently the victim of the fire.
Neighbors identified the dead woman as Donna Marquart, 75, a resident of the apartment complex at 615 E. Jefferson Ave.
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Bauman said a newspaper carrier heard an alarm coming from Marquart's apartment about 6 a.m.
The carrier, who delivers the Standard-Examiner, said the alarm sounded like an alarm clock and she did not become concerned until she circled the building and saw the blackened sliding glass door and melted vertical blinds.
At that point, the carrier, who asked that her name not be used, alerted a neighbor, George Slot, who immediately called 911.
Slot and his niece then began warning neighbors about the fire.
When firefighters arrived, they found Marquart dead inside her apartment. The fire itself was already out, but the unit had been heavily damaged.
Romero said the fire did not spread to the surrounding apartments, but she believes her own place sustained smoke damage.
She said she knew Marquart for eight years and described her as a quiet person who kept to herself.
"I visited her, tried to keep her company," Romero said. "I knew she was lonely and depressed. I tried as much as I could to be a friend to her."
Other neighbors concurred with Romero's assessment.
Romero told authorities that she heard yelling coming from Marquart's unit about 2:30 a.m. and went to console Marquart before going to bed.
An hour later, Romero, who has problems with mobility and must sleep in a hosptial bed, said she heard the smoke alarm in Marquart's unit, but could not get up to check. Another resident speculated that after a while, people become desensitized to other people's smoke alarms, the way they do to car alarms.
Later that morning, authorities carried off her friend's body.
"It's so sad that it happened," Romero said, "so sad."
Officials are investigating the fire and the cause of the woman's death, but the fire department believes it was accidental.