An 82-year-old woman and a dog have died following a house fire in Port Charlotte early Monday morning.
According to Charlotte County Fire and EMS, firefighters received a call about a fire at a home on Francis Drive around 12:45 a.m. on Monday. Upon arrival, crews found a major fire burning through the house’s roof. They were able to carry the woman out of the home, and she was transported to a local hospital before she died.
A dog was also removed from the home, but it died from smoke inhalation.
WINK News spoke to neighbors who say they’re having a difficult time coping with the loss of their dear friend.
Those who live in one Port Charlotte neighborhood are shocked and sad about having to come to terms with the aftermath of a fire.
If you drive up to the home, it is not overtly apparent that there was a fire, but video from the WINK News drone shows you a massive hole in the roof over the kitchen where it is believed that the fire started.
All that was left of a Port Charlotte home was a broken window, a damaged door, smoke lining the walls, and a hole burned through the kitchen roof. But, it was the life inside that was taken too soon that had neighbors shaken up.
Jeff Kircher is one of the victim’s neighbors. “Kind of in shock. It was unexpected, of course. You’d see her walking out to her mailbox and getting her mail going back home and waving hello to each other,” Kircher said.
Charlotte County Fire and EMS says they rushed an 82-year-old woman out of her home and to the hospital. But, she later died from smoke inhalation along with her dog.
Todd Dunn is with Charlotte County fire. “Ideally, we want to protect people’s homes. We definitely want to save people’s lives, so when we can’t do that, it’s always a hard situation,” said Dunn.
While the fire department hasn’t confirmed her name, those who live nearby say the woman lived in that house for more than 20 years.
“Very nice lady, pretty much kept to herself, always giving. She would have an avocado tree in her backyard or mangos and would put them out on the curb, drive by and say, ‘help yourself,'” said Kircher.
The state fire marshal is investigating the fire and what started it. However, fire officials believe the fire was accidental.
Dunn says that smoke inhalation is actually the leading cause of fire-related deaths. While he doesn’t know if this home had smoke detectors, he wants WINK News viewers to make sure theirs are working.
“When you can have them up they give you advanced warning and time to get out. The average time to get out once your house starts filling with smoke is two minutes so that’s not very much time at all,” Dunn said.