Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two women were killed in an overnight house fire in Hialeah.
When firefighters arrived at the home at 515 W 79th Place around 4 a.m. they found light smoke coming from the roof eaves. They were delayed getting into the home because an iron gate covering the front door and steel bars on the windows.
“As they forced entry through a gated front door, they found heavy smoke conditions inside, the smoke was banking down to approximately their knees,” said Hialeah Fire Rescue Captain Cesar Espinosa.
The fire began in the living room area of the home. In a bedroom, firefighters found the bodies of women on a bed. The bedroom window had bars on the outside with no interior release mechanism.
“Both of these ladies were found near the window on top of each other. It is a gated window. Obviously, efforts to remove themselves from the building were unsuccessful,” said Espinosa.
Firefighters believe the home didn’t have working smoke detectors that could have alerted the women early enough so that they could have escaped the house through a door before the fire blocked their way.
Maritza Rodriguez, who normally would have been caring for her grandmother, but was on an out-of-town trip, was devastated by the deaths of her 87-year-old grandmother Emilia Rodriguez and Rodriguez’s daughter, 65-year-old daughter Alba Soto Rodriguez.
“They were my life. My grandmother, especially was my life. I moved down here from New York to take care of her,” Rodriguez said, crying.
Maritza confirmed there was no latching mechanism on the window bars of the bedroom.
“No, there’s no way to get out from inside the gates,” she said.
The young woman could not help but wonder if things might have ended differently had she been home.
“My grandmother was my angel. My aunt was a wonderful lady. They were both wonderful,” Maritza Rodriguez said, before breaking down with emotion.
So far no word on what sparked the fire.