ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – A woman who died in her home after a fiery gasoline tanker crashed in her neighborhood had nearly reached safety when she apparently returned to her house to retrieve her eyeglasses, authorities said.

Eleanor Laurini, 69, died of smoke and soot inhalation Tuesday after the tanker, carrying as many as 12,500 gallons of gasoline overturned and ruptured.

“She was found with her glasses clutched in her hand,” police Sgt. Carlos Garcia told the Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester. “My understanding was she was out of the house, or on her way out, when she decided to go back in to get her glasses.”

Laurini and her housemate, whom Garcia did not identify, began to flee their home after the crash. “Her roommate basically stated, ‘I thought she was right behind me,”‘ Garcia said.

Eleven people suffered minor injuries, and a total of 23 homes were damaged in the blaze.

Police did not charge driver Rodney Kouthoofd, 35, of Brockport, who has cooperated fully in the investigation, Garcia said. Kouthoofd escaped with minor burns to his face.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation.

AP-ES-05-03-03 1154EDT



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