The Madison County coroner confirms the identity of an 81-year-old woman killed in a house fire


The Madison County coroner released the name A dead woman is found after her home in Wood River caught fire early Wednesday morning.

Donna W. Nance, 81, was positively identified by the presence of a surgically implanted medical device, according to a statement from Coroner Steve Nunn’s office.

According to preliminary results of an autopsy performed Thursday morning, Nance likely died of smoke inhalation along with “significant heart and lung disease,” the statement said.

“A final cause of death will be issued upon completion of routine toxicology testing along with carbon monoxide testing,” the coroner’s statement said.

The Wood River Fire Department responded to the call in the 800 block of State Street at 5:14 a.m. Wednesday. First responders arrived within three minutes, but were met with heavy smoke and fire at the front of the house, Chief Wade Stalhut said.

“We tried to enter through the front door but were met with heavy fire and smoke,” Stalhout said. “There were also some structural integrity issues, so we entered through the back. Once the fire was extinguished, we unfortunately confirmed that one person was inside.”

Nance was the only person inside the home at the time of the fire, Stalhut said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Wood River Police Department, the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Madison County Coroner’s Office, and the Wood River Fire Department.

East Alton and Roxana fire departments also responded to the scene. The Rosewood Heights, Godfrey and Edwardsville fire departments assisted in various jobs. Stalhout said Wood River Volunteers He had already worked on a fire overnight and needed backup.

“We’re kind of a small community department. I just wanted to make sure we could rotate people in and out to ensure the safety of our guys,” Stalhut said.

Funeral arrangements for Nance are pending with Elias, Kalal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey.

“The coroner’s office would like to express our deepest sympathies to all those involved in this tragic accident,” Noon’s statement said.

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