Neighbor risks life but can't save woman from fire - WSMV Channel 4

Neighbor risks life but can't save woman from fire

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

It could be weeks before investigators know what sparked a deadly fire at a Murfreesboro mobile home park on Saturday.

Flames ripped through a trailer at the Cedar Park Community around 1:30 p.m., killing  71-year-old Margarite Autrey.

"I looked out and the flames were from one end to the other end of the trailer and the windows were popping," Judy Kilgore shuttered as she remembered the incident.

When Kilgore saw the flames within feet of her front door, she said her first thought wasn't of her own safety but her next-door neighbor's.

"She was a sweet old lady," Kilgore explained. "I used to look in on her after we came home from work."

Kilgore said Autrey had just came home from the hospital after battling a chronic illness. Normally, a visiting nurse would be there, but for some reason Kilgore said she didn't show and the woman was home alone when the fire broke out Saturday afternoon.

"It just went up like a tinder box," Kilgore recalled.

"She asked me for help," said another neighbor Jose Hernandez.

Hernandez saw the flames from his front porch and rushed over to help. He fought through smoke and flames to get to his neighbor, but the heat proved too much, singeing his hair.

"I kicked the door, opened the door and I see the woman on the floor," Hernandez explained. "We tried to go back another time but every time it's burning."

"It was a tough time," according to Ashley McDonald with Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue. "The gentleman tried his best and then when crews got here they quickly extinguished the fire but it was just, there was nothing they could do at that point."

But it was too late for a woman who, just weeks before cheated death, only to succumb to fire.

"She'll be missed," Kilgore added.

Neighbors said Autrey lived with her nephew, but he wasn't home at the time of the fire. The Red Cross is putting him up in temporary shelter.

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