An apartment fire that claimed a woman’s life on Columbus’ north side started from discarded smoking materials or falling asleep while smoking in bed.

The victim of the 2:47 p.m. Monday fire at the Canterbury House Apartments, west of Candlelight Village, has been identified as 59-year-old Deborah Volland.

Volland, whose body was found in the hallway of her apartment at 3540 Nicholas Lane, likely died of smoke inhalation, Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said.

However, the cause and manner of death will not be finalized until the investigation, including toxicology, is complete, Nolting said.

Columbus firefighters found her in the apartment and brought her outside before emergency medical technicians attempted resuscitation, Columbus Fire Investigator Matt Noblitt said.

When firefighters arrived, they heard multiple smoke detectors had activated and were told by neighbors that the apartment’s sole occupant had limited mobility, Noblitt said.

Smoke damage was substantial throughout the three-bedroom apartment, but the fire was contained to a back bedroom in Volland’s apartment and did not cross fire walls that protected neighboring units in the two-story brick apartment building, Noblitt stated.

It took one hour to bring the fire under control, Noblitt said.


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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.