F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

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January 17, 2008
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Woman dies in morning fire

A blaze that claimed the life of a Carson City woman early Thursday morning began in a back room of the double-wide mobile home on Star Way, a fire inspector said.

Duane Lemons, of the Carson City Fire Department, said though the body of Linda Latasa, 48, was found in the front living room, the origin of the fire appears to have been in the rear where investigators found candles.

Neighbor Tom Paolella said he was awakened just after 6 a.m. by someone banging on his door.

"When I looked out the whole back corner of the house was a whole big ball of fire and it was coming out windows. That was just like a big inferno," he said. "It was so hot, that you couldn't get close to it."

Latasa's boyfriend Gary Grinker said he left for a job in Susanville, Calif., on Wednesday night, only to be called back with the tragic news Thursday.

Distraught, he wavered between calm and tears, as he tried to round up the couple's cats that had escaped the flames. When he couldn't corral them, he began to set out bowls of food that looked out of place against the charred remains of their home. There was little he could salvage.

"I love her with all my heart. I just want her back," he cried. "I'm so heart broke, I don't know what to do. I just want my honey, that's all I want."

Latasa's daughter Katie Baldwin said she'd visited with her mother at noon on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, she got word through her friends that her mother's house was on fire. She drove by herself to confirm what she'd heard.

The Carson City Sheriff's Department in conjunction with the Carson City Fire Department is conducting an investigation into the cause of the death and the fire. Sheriff Ken Furlong said it appeared that the gas and power were shut off recently and the occupants were using kerosene heaters throughout the home for warmth.

"They were just nice people," said Paolella. "They were just as good as they could be."

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 18, 2008 03:33PM Published Jan 17, 2008 03:00AM Copyright 2008 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.