'She was sitting on her porch on fire'

'She was sitting on her porch on fire'

PORTLAND, Ore. - An 80-year-old woman was badly burned when her home caught fire overnight.

The fire broke out just before 3 a.m. in the bedroom of a home in the 3600 block of North Trenton Street.

A man and his sister, who live nearby, said they first heard what sounded like an explosion and then they saw smoke.

A woman made it outside of the house on her own but the danger was far from over because her clothes were on fire. Neighbors said they were melted onto her arms and legs.

"She was sitting on her porch on fire," neighbor Joseph Zamora said. "My sister got her off the porch and away from the house."

The woman, who was later identified as Eunice Crowder, was rushed to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. She is in critical condition with third-degree burns to 45 percent of her body.

Firefighters said Crowder was in the kitchen, then returned to her bedroom during the night to find a pillow on fire. Her clothes and other nearby items then caught fire as she tried to extinguish the burning pillow in the bathroom.

Investigators said a heating pad under the pillow started the fire. They're still not sure if it malfunctioned or it wasn't being properly used.

Firefighters had a hard time putting out the flames because of clutter inside the home. Crowder's nephew said she was a hoarder and the family had been trying to help her.

Neighbors said they had no idea the elderly woman next door was living in huge amounts of clutter.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire.

Crowder has been in the news before. Back in 2003, she sued the City of Portland after a police officer went to her home responding to complaints of trash and debris on the property. Court documents state there was a confrontation and the officer used a stun gun on her.

Editorial note: Initial reports from emergency responders indicated the woman was in her 60s. KATU later learned her identity and age, which is 80 years old.