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Officials with the Racine Fire Department identified the woman who died in a fire early Sunday morning at 2901 Gilson Street as Rae-ellen Mahnke.

Investigators determined that the fire started because of the careless use of smoking materials. An autopsy report indicated that Mahnke, 65, died from smoke/soot inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a press release by the Racine Fire Department.

Officials responded to the fire at 6:30 a.m. Sunday in the 2500 block of Taylor Avenue.

“Upon arrival, fire crews identified the address and quickly attacked the fire which was venting through an open bedroom window. Fire crews were required to force both locked doors to gain entry. After making entry, Quint-4 radioed ‘a lot of debris inside the house’ and began searching for and locating a female patient.”

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A smoke alarm was in the home, but officials with the fire department were not able to find it after the fire.Mahnke was taken from the home and placed in an ambulance where she was pronounced dead at the scene. Three dogs also died in the fire.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.