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Survivor of North End fire suffered severe burns

The North End woman who staggered out of a burning building Tuesday night is recovering from second-degree burns over 40 percent of her body, according to relatives.

Patricia DeLuca, who lived on the third floor at 26 Cooper St., was apparently trapped inside by the raging fire, but managed to flee down the hallway, which was engulfed in flames, Elaine Giampietro, DeLuca’s cousin, said in a telephone interview.

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To the amazement of a crowd that had gathered outside to watch firefighters battle the blaze, she walked out of the front door.

Witnesses described DeLuca as being covered with soot, her clothes tattered, and her hair singed.

DeLuca is being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“She’s heavily sedated now, but her family is at the hospital with her,’’ Giampietro said.

Most of DeLuca’s burns were to her abdomen, shoulders, and chest, and she will probably undergo skin grafting, Giampietro said, adding that her cousin had endured severe panic attacks and suffered from claustrophobia throughout her life — “making her escape even more remarkable.”

DeLuca grew up in the Boston area and recently moved back from Monterey, Calif., to take care of her ailing father in Weymouth.

When DeLuca had previously lived in the area, she worked as an event planner at the Cheers Boston restaurant on Beacon Hill.

She lived on Cooper Street for about three months with a roommate. That roommate moved out just several days ago, Giampietro said.

The four-alarm fire, which broke out at about 11 p.m. Tuesday, caused $1 million in damage, gutting a four-story brick building at 26 Cooper and causing smoke damage to 28 Cooper St. and 29 North Margin St., Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The blaze left 13 people homeless.

Brian Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com.
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