Family, friends mourn death of Pasadena couple in fire


The blaze started around 4:30am Friday at the home on Monroe near Pasadena Boulevard.

"I'm happy for them because I know they are in a better place, but it is going to be rough without them," said the victims' son, David Lewis.

He is the oldest son of the couple who died in the house fire. Pasadena firefighters say 67-year-old Philiss Lewis called 911 from inside the home as the fire raged.

"We had a call come in to 911 from the female senior victim and I understand the call was dropped. It appears the call was dropped due to the phone line being compromised by the fire," said Pasadena Fire Marshal David Brannon.

Minutes later, firefighters arrived and saw flames shooting from the back of the home and smoke coming from the front. Rescue workers say they pulled Phillis and her 68-year-old husband Charles Lewis from the front of the home and began CPR.

David Lewis says he stopped by the home about a half hour after the blaze started, unaware of the tragedy until pulling onto Monroe Street and seeing his parents being rescued from the burning home.

"When I got to the hospital, they said dad died of smoke inhalation and they revived mom three times, and on the fourth time she did not come back," he said.

Neighbor Tim Williams said, "I heard the ambulance or fire truck, I ran down there, you could see all the smoke and flames coming out of the back of the house."

"I could smell the smoke coming in from the A/C vents, so I immediately got up and started to look around the house, investigating where the smoke was coming from," said neighbor Samuel Baraza.

Neighbors living near the home were saddened to learn the Lewis family didn't make it out in time.

"I've known them the last 15, 20 years, but I have lived on this street for 55 years. Anytime anybody needs something or whatever, we've got good neighbors, and they were great neighbors," Williams said. "God bless the family right now, our prayers are with them."

It was David Lewis who relayed the bad news to his family. As they gathered outside the home to pray, David says it is the family bonds that will help them through the tragedy.

"A lot of sadness right now, but they are in a better place. No more pain, no more worries for them, now it's just getting everything situated for them," David said.

Firefighters tell us both victims were heavy smokers and that Phillis Lewis used an oxygen machine. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Phyllis and Charles had several grandchildren who often stayed at the home. We're told some who had been living with them just recently moved out.

We're also told a female firefighter strained her back while pulling the male victim out of the house. She is said to be OK.

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