BALTIMORE — By the time firefighters arrived at the house in the 1100 block of Evans Way, the flames had spread through the two-story home blocking any means of escape for the lone woman still inside.
"We were both walking my dog and all we heard was someone screaming, and then we were walking here and we saw the flames going," said Jose Garcia, one of the victim’s neighbors.
"All we could do was stand by and watch and it was a terrible sight to see," added Izzy Rivera. "Flames were coming out of the windows. The door was covered up. There was no way for her to get out."
And no way for firefighters to initially get in until they could douse the inferno.
"Once the fire was extinguished, which was in a manner of 10 minutes or so, firefighters went in and immediately began searching for an occupant,” said Blair Adams of the Baltimore City Fire Department. “Shortly after the started their primary search, firefighters located the body of an adult woman on the second floor."
The fire spread to adjoining homes, and now a total of three have been condemned leaving seven people in search of somewhere else to live for now.
But it's the death of the woman, described as someone who had a huge heart and was always there when they needed her, that haunts her closest neighbors who knew she needed help, but were helpless to provide it.
"I had an opportunity to talk to one of the firefighters who located her body, and he's just completely torn by this," said Adams. "You know this is completely devastating. It's right before the holidays. We lost a member of this community. Her family lost a vital part of their family. Our goal is to make sure that we save lives and protect the community the best we can."