A 56-year-old woman died early Tuesday when the cigarette she was smoking ignited her mattress, a spokeswoman for the La Mesa Fire Department said.
Twenty-three firefighters fought the one-alarm blaze, which broke out shortly after midnight in Helen Griffin's condominium in the 6000 block of Henderson Street. It is believed that Griffin fell asleep and that her cigarette smoldered on the mattress before catching fire, the spokeswoman said.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
A fireman was treated at Grossmont Hospital for exposure to heat and smoke.
The fire was contained after 40 minutes, and did not spread beyond the upstairs unit, the spokeswoman said. Damage was estimated at $80,000 to the wood-frame structure and $30,000 to the contents.