Elderly widow burns to death after falling into backyard fire pit

A 71-year-old Massachusetts woman was found dead Saturday night after reportedly falling into her backyard fire pit.

MassLive.com identified the deceased woman as Worchester resident Jacqueline Cardinal. The woman’s daughter, Michelle Gay, told the newspaper that Cardinal was fine 10 minutes before she and her husband came upon the horrifying scene.

Fire officials said they believe Cardinal was home alone when the freak accident occurred. NECN reported that the woman suffered significant burns and was pronounced dead at the scene. The fire was reportedly extinguished when crews arrived at the Worchester home.

Gay said Cardinal was a mother of two but had raised four foster children with her late husband. She was also a religious education teacher at her local church, she said.

“She is the most wonderful woman there is,” Gay tearfully told MassLive.com. “There isn’t anybody who would say anything different.”

While Cardinal’s death is being treated as an accident, fire officials told NECN that an autopsy will determine her exact cause of death.



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