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Woman's Asthma Death Linked to Smoke From Colo. Wildfire

June 25, 2002|From Associated Press

FLORISSANT, Colo. -- A woman's death three days after the start of Colorado's largest wildfire has been blamed on a severe asthma attack brought on by smoke and is the first death directly attributed to the blaze.

Ann Dow, 50, died of an asthma attack and smoke inhalation, according to her death certificate and her doctor.

Dow collapsed June 11 after telling her husband she couldn't breathe. Her husband, Gary Dow, said she suffered from asthma most of her life and carried an inhaler. She told him shortly before she collapsed that the inhaler wasn't helping.

Dow was pronounced dead in a hospital emergency room. It was unclear whether Terry Lynn Barton, the U.S. Forest Service employee charged with starting the 137,000-acre blaze southwest of Denver, would face additional charges in Dow's death.

"It's too early to say anything," said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for U.S. Atty. John Suthers. "We'd need to evaluate all the documentation before having any further comment."

Gary Dow said Sunday he believed that Barton's "deliberate actions" caused his wife's death. He said he plans to explore legal options.

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