Elderly Hayward Woman Injured in Fire by Cigarette

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     An elderly woman was critically injured in a fire apparently  caused by a cigarette at her home in Hayward on Thursday night, a fire  department spokesman said today.

    The one-alarm fire was reported at 9:14 p.m. and was extinguished  six minutes later, fire Capt. LaShon Earnest said.

    The 81-year-old victim suffered second- and third-degree burns to  her hand, forearm and face and is in critical condition, Earnest said.

    The woman is a known smoker and investigators believe she may have  fallen asleep while smoking in her living room, leading the fire to ignite  from her cigarette, according to Earnest.

    She was unable to put out the blaze and retreated to a rear  bedroom where responding firefighters found her, Earnest said.