A 44-year-old Indian-origin woman died after fire broke out in her apartment in a high-rise in the city's north.
Leela Chaudhary was found unconscious on the floor when firefighters arrived at her apartment, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said, adding that she likely died of smoke inhalation.
Chaudhary would have survived if there was a working smoke detector at her apartment, Langford said.
Fire crews took about 40 minutes to control the blaze, which started on a couch cushion, igniting the couch and filling the studio apartment with smoke, Langford added.
While the exact cause of the fire has not been determined, investigators say they believe it was accidental.
The apartment had wall brackets to hold a smoke detector but no device was found at the scene, Langford said adding that a working smoke detector could have alerted the victim and saved her life.
Building staff dialed 911 after smoke detectors in the corridor outside Chaudhary's studio were triggered.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.
Chaudhary, whose parents live in Washington DC, apparently was staying alone at her 38th floor apartment in the 55-storey building.
Her sister, Sarada, said Chaudhary lived alone but had family in Chicago and India.
"She had a lot of love for people, and a lot of people who loved her," she said.