Fire investigators aren't sure whether an elderly Princeton woman died before or after her apartment caught fire Monday night.
As fire tore through the residence on the 400 block of West Third Street, a group of people tried to rescue Iris Toleito, 75, through the apartment's window. Among those at the scene were several members of the trapped woman's family, according to Princeton Police Chief Tyrone Sutton. But when EMS arrived, she was pronounced dead at the scene, and the fire was largely out.
"Witnesses were apparently trying to get the tenant out," Sutton said.
The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators found smoking materials they think were responsible, Johnston County fire marshal Chris Perry said. Damage to the apartment was minimal, and no other residences were affected.
Toleito was transported to the medical examiner's office in Smithfield, where an autopsy will determine how she died.