Rebecca Sloan, the South Portland woman who was rescued from her parents’ burning home by firefighters last fall, died Thursday, her family announced Sunday.

In an obituary, Sloan’s family attributed her death at Mercy Hospital to complications from a lengthy illness, but the 33-year-old took several weeks to recover from third-degree burns over 20 percent of her body as a result of the Oct. 31 fire.

After the fire, she remained hospitalized through all of November and most of December until she was released by her doctors. Her mother, Brenda Sloan, said her daughter spent a short time at home before being readmitted in January for skin graft surgery.

After feeling ill Thursday, she went back to Mercy Hospital. She experienced a seizure and her heart stopped, her mother said.

“It came as a shock to all of us,” Brenda Sloan said Sunday evening. “It was all too much for her. She was such a fighter.”

South Portland firefighters pulled Sloan from her second-floor bedroom in the Kincaid Street residence on the night of the fire. She was unconscious and badly burned. The fire badly damaged the family’s home in the Ferry Village neighborhood. Other family members got out safely, as did the family dog and cat.


Firefighters said the fire started in Sloan’s room but they have been unable to determine the exact origin of the flames. Firefighters who went into the burning building said they found Sloan lying against her bedroom door, unconscious.

During an interview in November with the Portland Press Herald, Sloan said she felt lucky to be alive. “God has a reason, obviously, for me to be here,” she told a reporter. “I’ve just been trying to get a grasp on what that is. Maybe helping other people.”

Brenda Sloan said her daughter was diagnosed with cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, a rare lung disease, in October 2017. She spent months in and out of the hospital battling the disease. And she was using an oxygen concentrator to help her breathe at the time of the fire.

Sloan’s father, Michael, said his daughter conquered a lot of health problems during her short life, but never let those challenges discourage her.

“She had to fight a lot of health battles throughout her life,” her father said Sunday evening. “It was amazing to me that she made it through all that fire and smoke.”

Her family said that Sloan worked in the Portland area as a waitress and loved being with people. In her spare time, she enjoyed reading books at Willard Beach in South Portland and writing in her journal.


“Rebecca will long be remembered as a charming, witty, intelligent, determined and giving young woman, who loved to dress up with a good pair of high heels,” her family wrote in her obituary.

Brenda Sloan said that their Kincaid Street home, which was insured, is in the process of being rebuilt and should be ready for occupancy by April. They have been living in a rental home.

“I thought my daughter would be moving back in with us,” she said.

The Sloans are asking that anyone who wishes to make contributions in Rebecca’s memory to send them to the South Portland Fire and Rescue Department, 684 Broadway, South Portland, Maine 04106.

Visiting hours will be Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at the Conroy-Tulley Walker chapel on Broadway in South Portland. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Cross Church in South Portland.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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