Duplex fire causes woman's death
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A disabled woman in her mid-fifties died after a fire broke out in her home and trapped her inside, Wednesday morning.
According to City of Miami firefighters the woman, who needed a walker to get by, tried to get help. She pounded on the walls and screamed, but no one heard her pleas for help, and she died in the fire.
Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius Carroll said, "When fire rescue brought the victim out of the house, they performed CPR on her and quickly rushed her to the trauma center where we heard, unfortunately, she passed away shortly after arrival at the hospital."
According to fire officials, the woman lived in the back of a duplex located on Northwest 63rd Street and 17th Avenue. Just after midnight, she started banging on the walls, and people heard the banging. Carroll said, "Family members in the front unit heard banging on the walls and thought there was just some people there and thought nothing of it."
A resident who lived in the front of the duplex said, "I heard banging around 12:30 last night, and I thought it was my stepdaughter coming home. So, we called her and got her in the house, and then we heard banging around 4 o'clock, and I thought someone was breaking into the house."
At 4:30 Wednesday morning, the family in front of the duplex heard more banging, and then later an alarm ringing. "We checked around the house, and then we came back and heard a smoke alarm going off around six, and we got up and checked, and we called the fire department," said the resident.
Carroll said, "It appears that this woman, who had a disability, was trying to call for help by all kinds of means, from banging at the door, and it even looks like she tried to grab some furniture to bang at the window and try to get out, but this is a unit that has bars all around the windows. So that would've been difficult for her to even get out but maybe even enough to get air for her to breathe and scream for help, and unfortunately that did not happen."
It is still unknown what might have caused the fire. "It's still too early in the investigation to tell if this death was caused because of the fire or indeed because of a homicide, which we have seen in the past," said Miami Police Sgt. Freddie Cruz.
In cases like these it is routine for police to assist fire rescue in the investigation. So, if you have any information on this fire, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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