Gaffney woman dies trying to save daughter from blaze
Flames shoot through the Gaffney home. (March 6, 2014/FOX Carolina iWitness)
Firefighter have Cherokee Avenue blocked off at the scene of the fire. (March 6, 2014/FOX Carolina)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Firefighters are investigating a fatal Gaffney house fire Thursday after a mom and daughter did not survive the blaze.
Dispatchers said the fire was reported at a home on Cherokee Avenue across the street from Colonial Fish Camp.
According to the Cherokee County coroner, a 12-year-old boy, two grandparents, a woman and her daughter lived in the one-story home.
Coroner Dennis Fowler identified the victims as Evelyn Rodriguez, 43, and Lanette Lara, 11.
Fowler said Rodriguez's 12-year-old son Carlus Lara was asleep on a sofa when his mother woke him up about 4:30 a.m. and told him to run outside because the house was on fire. Fowler said the two ran out the back door but Rodriguez went back inside to get Lanette, who was asleep at the front of the home.
Lara told Fowler he went back inside to yell for his grandparents, 71-year-old Carlus Rodriguez and 67-year-old Eriberta Tarsee, to get up and out too.
When his mom and sister did not come out, Fowler said the boy went to the front bedroom window where his mom and sister slept and tried to break it to get them out, but the smoke got heavier and the heat was too much so he had to back away, only grabbing some clothes that were just inside.
Fowler said the boy was taken to the hospital with minor scratches and his grandparents were admitted after the fire.
Witnesses at the scene also reported seeing a neighbor trying to help the family get out of the fire.
The neighbor was Robert Teague who told FOX Carolina he was on the way to the store when he saw smoke. Teague said he went to the back door and got it open, but could not make it very far in. He said he then went to the front door to help people out.
Firefighters said they do not yet know the cause of the fire but ruled out that the case was heat-source related and are working to see if it was electrical. They said the family did not have smoke detectors in the home.
Fowler said Evelyn Rodriguez and her daughter died from smoke inhalation and thermal burns. He said they were overcome by the smoke from the fire before it got to them.
The City Of Gaffney Fire Department, State Law Enforcement Division and Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the coroner's office are investigating the fatal blaze.
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