MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An elderly woman and her caretaker were caught in an apartment fire early Saturday morning in Miami, killing the 83-year old and burning the woman who looked after her.
Miami fire investigators said an electrical short caused the fire in a third floor apartment at 1800 SW 25th Street. Neighbors recorded the chaos with their cell phones as they simultaneously tried getting people out safely.
Terrified screams woke Arturo Wong, who lived in the apartment below the one that went up in flames. Wong also works at CBS4 and shared what happened with reporter Donna Rapado.
"Out of nowhere someone was screaming, 'help, help, neighbors! She can't breathe,'" Wong explained. "We looked upstairs and we saw fire. I got scared. My family got scared. My first reaction was to get my family out of that place."
It was about 4 a.m. Saturday when the fire started, confined to the one apartment even as thick smoke spread to the rest of the building.
"The smoke was so dense, it was so hard to breathe," Wong said. "Our eyes were burning."
"As first units arrived," said Miami Fire Rescue's Captain Ignatius Carroll, "they actually found a man who had a shirt wrapped around his face trying to protect himself from the heavy smoke looking for an elderly woman."
"We were asking him do you see anybody else inside, is there anyone in there," said Wong. "The guy was like, 'no there's no one.' Then we started to tell him, 'then get out, get out, get out!'"
The unidentified elderly woman did not make it out alive. Paramedics treated her caretaker's hands which burned in the fire. They rushed the woman, who is in her 60's, to Jackson Memorial Hospital where she was expected to be ok.
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