House Fire Claims Life Of Elderly Woman

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By Elizabeth Nickerson
August 30, 2013

Mayo, FL- A Lafayette County mobile home went up in flames Sunday morning. Authorities are still investigating how the fire started. I spoke to neighbors about how they tried to save the woman's life.

"We hollered for her, she never answered it's just sad to know that she was 88-years-old and she was right there in the back door and we couldn't get to her," said Donna Schnepp, a neighbor.

Neighbors describe the horrific scene Sunday morning. They rushed to save their neighbor, Helen Williams, known as Ms. Murray to the people that lived around her. Neighbors say they heard a loud pop and then her mobile home became engulfed in flames.

"There was black smoke bowling out," said Schnepp. "I run around and touch the door knob, and it was so hot that If we would have opened the door, it would have back lashed on us and it would have killed us."

"It just broke my heart," said Virginia Fletcher, the Victim's Best Friend.

Her best friend Virginia Fletcher tries to hold back tears. They've been neighbors for 12 years, both of them would talk everyday. Fletcher and her daughter say one of her dog's, Tadpole, also died in the fire, but one of her dog's, Bear, survived.

"Waiting on his mommy and her brother Tadpole," said Schnepp. "He is still grieving, animals grieve just like humans over their loved ones."

The family told neighbors to keep Bear. Neighbors say it will be hard to move on from here.

"Help take care of these elderly people they need us, they took care of us growing up, we need to take care of them now," said Schnepp.

The case is still under investigation pending the medical examiners report, according to the Lafayette County Sheriff's Office. The case is now in the hands of the State Fire Marshall's Office.