updated 12/20/2006 9:50:48 PM ET 2006-12-21T02:50:48

A fire at a group home for the mentally disabled that killed two people and injured another Wednesday apparently started when a resident lit clothing with a cigarette lighter, authorities said.

A 31-year-old resident was pronounced dead at the scene. The 62-year-old caretaker, a woman, was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, said Doug Smith, a battalion fire chief.

Smith said a 29-year-old resident apparently started the fire when he ignited clothing in a closet at the front of the house. He said the fire, reported at about 4 p.m., would have blocked the three from getting out the front door.

The man was taken to the burn unit at the Ohio State University Medical Center and was in critical condition Wednesday night, Smith said. There were no other people in the house. The resident was not expected to face criminal charges.

The two residents lived at the house for six years and were friends, said Patrick Rafter, president and chief executive of Creative Housing Inc., a nonprofit organization that owns the home and provides housing to people with developmental disabilities.

Judy Fountain, who lives nearby, said she saw flames coming out the front door and white smoke that turned to black as windows broke.

She said one of the residents was the first carried out and he had burns on his hands and face. She said four or five firefighters later carried a blanket-wrapped body out of the home.

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