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Cigarette on Sofa Might Have Caused Fatal Fire Fire officials identified the woman as Marilyn Ehrlich and said she was found in an upstairs bathroom area of the two-story house. Her son Ethan Ehrlich, 48, who also lived there, was found downstairs. He was listed in critical condition yesterday at a hospital, officials said. Investigators think the fire was probably caused by smoking material, possibly a cigarette, left on a small sofa in a first-floor living room, said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The home, in the 11300 block of Gainsborough Road, near Winston Churchill High School, had at least three smoke alarms. One had no battery, one had a faulty connection and the third was so badly burned investigators could not determine if it activated, Garcia said. "She was full of life," said Lisa Ehrlich, a daughter-in-law. She recalled first meeting Marilyn at a Chinese restaurant on Rockville Pike in 1988, when she was dating Marilyn's son Damon. Lisa Ehrlich said her mother-in-law had a tendency to put her hand on the shoulder or arm of the person she was speaking to. "She put me at ease from the very beginning," Lisa Ehrlich said. Debbie Lessin, whose in-laws live next door to Marilyn Ehrlich, said: "We all thought she was in her 60s. . . . She laughed all the time." Marilyn Ehrlich, who recently traveled to Spain and belonged to book clubs, grew up in Northwest Washington and worked as a counselor, Damon Ehrlich said. Her husband, Frank, died in 1994. In addition to the two sons, the couple had a daughter, Shannon. They are not related to former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. When firefighters arrived, flames were shooting out of at least one window, Garcia said. One team of firefighters attacked the fire while another looked for occupants. Garcia said the rescue team found Marilyn Ehrlich unconscious and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.