Elderly woman killed and 3 others injured after rash of overnight kitchen fires

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An elderly woman was killed and three other people were taken to the hospital after three different kitchens went up in flames overnight.

Firefighters were called to a home on Cochran near Shelby around 1:30 Monday morning. Officials said flames were shooting from the roof when they arrived, but they had trouble getting inside because of burglar bars.

Firefighters said they found the body of the homeowner just inside the front door.

"Somebody was cooking something, left it on the stove and went to bed. We are unsure what caused the whole issue. The whole thing is when we make a fire at night, even during the day, we want to make sure property conservation is second among search and rescue. We were unable to find the victim until we started putting the fire out," HFD fire engineer Brian Wischnewsky said.

Just a couple hours before, the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department rescued three people after a fire sparked inside a home on Reba Street near Edith.

Investigators said they were all taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

"Anytime that you are working in the kitchen, you want to make sure that you stay inside the kitchen cooking, not leave it unattended," Lt. James Singleton with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office said.

The last fire of the night started around 10:30 p.m. at the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth at St. John's Downtown Church.

Officials said the fire started in the kitchen next to the center and spread to the gym. Firefighters were forced to cut holes in the roof to put out the flames.

Houston native Beyoncé and Tina Knowles teamed up with Kelly Rowland to donate funds to build the center back in 2002.

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