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Canton Woman Dead After South Peoria Garage Fire

A Canton woman was found dead in a South Peoria garage following a fire Friday morning.

Peoria firefighters responded to the fire at 1928 S. Stanley just after 8 a.m. They entered through a garage service door after finding the garage's main door wired shut, and knocked the blaze out in about three minutes.

After the garage was cleared of smoke, first responders found the body of a woman on a couch. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood identified her as Laurie Helms, 46, whose last listed address was in Canton.

Harwood said it's unclear if she was living there, or why she was in the garage.

Helms suffered smoke inhalation and extensive burns over 90% of her body, Harwood said after performing an autopsy Friday afternoon. He said information and evidence gathered at the scene suggests pending toxicology results also may lead to additional contributing factors in her death.

The Peoria Fire Department and Peoria Police Department are investigating. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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