Officials say the blaze broke out after 8:30 a.m. Thursday in a ground floor room at the Bush House Hotel in the 200 block of West Broad Street.
Video recorded by Action News viewer Edward Harrar showed thick smoke pouring from the 3-story structure.
"It started about 8:30 or quarter to 9," said Rick Gragg, who was staying at the hotel. "I saw smoke come up to my room and said something was wrong. I went down to another room to get a lady out.... One room was on fire."
According to the fire chief, the Marcella Heinz, 82, who died lived in the unit where the fire started. Officials said it is believed that she lived alone.
"We went in through the front door and we found her face down," said Fire Chief Doug Wilhelm. "She was rescued, pulled out and turned over to EMS and was declared deceased a little bit later."
No other serious injuries were reported.
Officials say preliminary indications are the fire may have been sparked by a faulty electrical line.
Action News is told the building has about 160 rooms and 100 people were in the facility at the time the fire started. Damage from the fire has displaced about nine of them.
As fire investigators work to figure out what caused the incident, those displaced are being assisted by the Red Cross.
The Bush House Hotel functions as both a hotel and a boarding house, with both rooms and apartments for rent.
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