A fatal fire in Southeast D.C. last week was caused by a woman smoking in bed, authorities said.
The fire started in 65-year-old Lilly Hearn Coates' bedroom in a home in the 600 block of Darrington Street SE after 5 a.m. Feb. 11.
“Aunt Lilly was pretty much the gatekeeper for everyone here,” her nephew Charles Battle Jr. said. “She raised everyone here; she babysitted everyone here.”
Coates is survived by many relatives, including two children and six grandchildren.
Her son was able to escape the fire that night, but according to family members, he feels remorse for not being able to save his mother.