News - Joliet and Will County

Updated: Joliet woman dies from burns, smoke inhalation from ‘careless use of stove,’ smoking material

A helicopter that was used to transport a 41-year-old burn victim in Joliet on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022.

A Joliet woman’s accidental death was caused from smoke inhalation and burn injuries from a flash fire caused by “careless use of stove and smoking material,” according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Sherri Puhl, 52, of the 1100 block of Waverly Place, was pronounced dead at 7:14 p.m. on Monday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

About 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, the medical examiner’s office released the cause and manner of Puhl’s death, which was deemed an accident from “careless use of stove and smoking material.”

Puhl had suffered burn injuries at a residence in the 1200 block of North Raynor Avenue, according to Joliet Fire Chief Jeff Carey.

Carey said on Wednesday that it appeared Puhl was “trying to light something from the stove and caught her clothes on fire.”

In Carey’s initial news release, he said at close to 10 a.m. Monday, a crew with Joliet Fire Department responded to the residence for a report of smoke coming from a house.

Firefighters arrived to find light smoke in the house with no fire, Carey said.

“The burn victim appeared to have accidentally set her clothes on fire,” Carey said.

The patient was loaded into an ambulance and a Loyola Lifestar helicopter was called to the scene, Carey said.

The woman was then transferred to a medical helicopter in a nearby parking lot and flown to a burn center at Loyola University Medical Center in Cook County.

“There was smoke throughout the residence but no fire damage to the home,” Carey said.

Fire crews were on scene for almost an hour. The scene was then turned over to Joliet Police Department.