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Merced woman critical but stable after suffering apartment fire burns

Jacquelyn Norris of Merced is in critical but stable condition after she was severely burned on more than 20 percent of her body in a fire Wednesday.

Norris was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno after firefighters found her unconscious in the hallways of her flaming house, Merced City Battalion Chief Shawn Henry said. Firefighters were able to rescue her from the house and perform emergency medical services. She had regained consciousness before she was taken away from the fire by ambulance.

Norris was burned on her face, neck, arms and upper back, Henry said. She also suffered extensive damage to her lungs from breathing super-heated air, he said.

The Merced City Fire Department has determined that the cause of the fire was smoking materials that were left unattended. "There must've been a lit cigarette or something like that," Henry said. "And she had some newspapers and mailers and magazines laying around on a coffee table. It must've fallen off and caught one of those on fire."

Structural and content damage to the apartment in the 3200 block of Denver Avenue was estimated at more than $120,000.