Elderly woman dies in early morning house fire

November 1, 2012 1:18:23 PM PDT
An elderly woman died after a fire at her home in northeast Houston early this morning. She was pulled from the home alive, but later passed away at the hospital.

"At three in the morning, we woke up and we started hearing loud booms and explosions," said neighbor Aime Ibarra.

The early morning sun made clear the devastating nature of what happened at the home on Briarwick near Bentley. Beverly Whitley, 89, passed away after the blaze.

"Just last night, she was outside with her trick-or-treating basket," said Ibarra. "It's crazy how something so fast can happen one day to another."

Ibarra woke to the sound of the fire eating away at the house and the garage.

"The car was actually on fire and then she had burglar bars, so we were all trying to get in through the back, but it was just impossible, you know," said Ibarra.

"The whole time, my grandma is inside," said Luke Richard, the victim's grandson. "There was so much heat and flames, even if we could have gotten in."

Richards lives next door, and his father lives in the home on the other side. They were startled at the intensity of the flames as they tried to rescue Whitley.

"We were trying to open up the burglar bars," said Richard. "We couldn't open up her burglar bars to get in to her."

It took the work of Houston firefighters to pull her from the home, but it wouldn't be enough to save her life; a life she'd lived as one of three relatives in a row. There are now only two.

"My dad would bring her coffee in the morning, go pick her up food, and then at nighttime, bring her dinner, check on her, sit with her," said Richard.

Whitley's dog also perished in the fire.

HFD says a nearby home also suffered some exterior damage. Approximately 80 firefighters responded to this incident. There were no other reported injuries.

The cause of this fire will be ruled accidental, pending the autopsy report of the individual who passed away, according to HFD.


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