CHICAGO
01/09/2012 10:27 am ET

Shantel McCoy Killed In Lakeview High-Rise Fire: Unknowingly Took Elevator To Her Death (VIDEO)

A woman returning to her North Side apartment was killed Sunday morning when she took the elevator to her floor -- not knowing that a fire was raging in the hallway outside her unit.

Shanel McCoy, 32, was "hit with a superheated blast" when elevator doors opened on the 12th floor of 3130 N. Lake Shore Dr. about 2 a.m. Sunday, Fox Chicago reports. McCoy, a marketing executive who moved to Chicago less than a year ago, was found dead in the elevator by firefighters responding to the scene.

NBC Chicago reports that a fire broke out on the 12th floor of the building around 2 a.m., and when a man and a woman living on the floor escaped with their dog, they left their front door open.

"If the fire is in your apartment, we tell people to get out and close the door. Each unit is a compartment to itself," Chicago Fire Department Chief Joe Roccasalva told NBC. "... The door to the apartment where the fire started was not closed, and the super-heated toxic gasses all got into the hallway there. The heat in there is probably 1,500 to 2,000 degrees at the ceiling. And if she was standing in the elevator, she probably got it full, right on."

If the door had been closed, McCoy likely would have survived.

Nine other people, including two firefighters, were injured in the blaze, the cause of which is being investigated.

“She's my only daughter and I have one son so we were very close," McCoy's devastated mother told Fox Chicago Sunday. "I spoke to her yesterday evening and I asked her are you home and she said mom I do rest sometimes... but the last communication we had was 9:00 last night.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that older Chicago buildings are not required to have sprinkler systems in their hallways, and the city council recently passed an extension allowing building owners to implement safety upgrades later this month.

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