Wanda Chappell, senior vice-president and deputy publisher at Random House, died in a fire at a New York City apartment building on December 23. She was 39.

Chappell entered publishing in 1984 after receiving a law degree from the University of North Carolina. She joined Random House as subsidiary rights manager in 1988, becoming director in 1991. In 1996 she was named associate publisher, and a year later was promoted to senior v-p.

Chappell played a key role in the publication of General Colin Powell's My American Journey and Christopher Reeve's Still Me .A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced.