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1 dead, 1 'critical' after being found in empty storefront

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 4:52 pm

One woman is dead and a second is in critical condition after they were found inside an empty storefront Wednesday afternoon.

Fort Wayne emergency workers were called just after 1 p.m. to a report of a body, a second person injured and a strong odor in the 4300 block of South Anthony Boulevard, but Fort Wayne Police were unable to find anything. They were called out a second time and the women were found at about 2:08 p.m.

A neighboring business owner, who was not identified, was using the empty storefront for storage and had found the women and called police, according to Fort Wayne Police Department spokeswoman Raquel Foster.

There were no obvious signs of trauma on either victim, and foul play is not suspected, Foster said. The Allen County coroner will determine the exact cause and manner of death of the one woman, and will confirm and release her identity, Foster said.

It's unclear if the women were living in the storefront or were employees or what the source of the odor was but a reporter smelled what seemed like natural gas. The storefront appeared to have an ironing board and bags of clothing inside, and what looked like a propane heater. One of the neighboring businesses is Empire City Clothing, on the other side is So Good Beauty Supply.

Fort Wayne Fire Department firefighters cleared the source of the odor and evacuated one of the neighboring businesses so police detectives could investigate.