An early-morning fire Saturday took the life of a 19-year-old teen who'd fallen asleep on the couch in her apartment. Joisha Boatner was found by her landlord, a former Benton Harbor firefighter.
A Benton Charter Township Police news release issued Saturday afternoon gives these details:
Just before 5 a.m., a smoke alarm sounded, awakening a resident in another apartment in the four-apartment/two-story building at 1775 Territorial Road.
The resident called 911 and the building owner, Rory Bell, who lives next to the apartment building.
With smoke coming from Boatner's apartment, Bell went in the apartment after Boatner did not answer at the door. He found her unconscious on the kitchen floor and a sofa on fire in the living room.
Bell dragged Boatner from her apartment and medics worked to revive her. She was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, where she was pronounced dead.
Apparently a candle tipped over, catching the living room on fire. For an unknown reason, the teen had taken down a smoke detector in the apartment hallway, Perry said.
The other three apartments received light smoke damage, police said.
The Michigan State Police Fire Marshall Division will release its report on the fire's cause when its findings are complete.