Fire engine

Investigators on Wednesday said a 55-year-old Billings woman killed in a house fire Tuesday died from carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation after an accidental home fire.

Teresa Fischer was found dead inside a home on the 3500 block of Lynn Avenue, according to the Billings Fire Department. An autopsy was performed Wednesday. 

The fire was accidental, caused by a gas-fueled hot water heater, fire department officials said. 

"The fire wasn't actually going on when responders got there," said Sgt. Riley Finnegan, a detective with the Billings Police Department. "It was evident that a fire had occurred inside."

No foul play is suspected in her death, Finnegan said.

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The woman had missed a Sunday lunch with friends and had not been heard from since, which led concerned family members to contact police to check, Finnegan said.

Three cats also died in the fire.

The fire "caused heavy smoke damage throughout the home," officials said. Damage from the fire is estimated at $75,000, and it's unknown if the property or its contents were insured.

Billings Police investigators are working in conjunction with the Billings Fire Department on the investigation, Finnegan said.

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