Thorndike woman dies from burns suffered last month

Posted Feb. 02, 2009, at 12:37 p.m.

THORNDIKE, Maine — The State Fire Marshal’s Office says a Thorndike woman died over the weekend from burns she suffered two weeks ago when her clothing caught fire while she was cooking.

Ruth Reid, 82, died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to a press release from Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland. She was critically burned on Jan. 20 when her clothing caught fire as she was cooking lunch over a gas stove at her home on Reid Road. Her son, Bruce Reid, whom she lived with, was able to extinguish the flames. The home was not damaged in the fire.

Unity Ambulance and Thorndike Fire Department responded to the call, and Reid initially was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. She later was flown by helicopter to the Boston hospital.

State Fire Marshal John Dean said in a press release that this was the sixth fire death in the past three years in Maine caused by clothing catching fire.

He urged Mainers to always be cautious when cooking and to avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing when around a stove. Dean said if clothing should catch fire, a person should “stop, drop and roll” to extinguish the flames. He said running in a panic after clothing has caught fire will fan the flames and that dropping to the floor and rolling should help put the fire out.

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