HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - Two elderly women are dead after their Hialeah home caught fire, early Thursday morning.
Witnesses said the fire broke out at around 4 a.m., Thursday, near West 79th Place.
“Woke up and saw the fire rescue and smelled a little bit of smoke,” said one neighbor, Kenneth Lopez.
The deceased were identified as mother and daughter 87-year-old Emilia Rodriguez and 65-year-old Alba Soto.
“My grandma was my joy. My aunt, she was a wonderful lady,” said relative Maritza Rodriguez, choking back tears. “They were both wonderful. I can’t talk anymore.”
According to firefighters, upon arrival they saw light smoke coming from the roof.
Officials said they had to force their way into the home because there were metal bars in front of the doors and windows.
Once inside, firefighters were confronted by heavy smoke and nearly zero visibility as they made their way to the fire in the living room where officials said the fire may have started.
The two elderly women were found lying on top of each other in the bedroom. Officials said it appeared the two were trying to escape the flames through a window, but the security bars prevented them from doing so.
“They were found in the bedroom, near the window on top of each other,” said Hialeah Fire Rescue Captain Cesar Espinosa, “so apparently, it seemed like they were trying to make an effort to try to get out the window.”
The medical examiner removed the bodies from the home, late Thursday morning.
“Smoke inhalation can alter your way of thinking, and at 4 a.m., awakened by fire, no one’s really thinking correctly,” said Espinosa.
One neighbor said the women were long time friends of hers. She even helped care for them at times and now, her heart is broken.
“Family people, nice. Very, very nice,” said Antero Blanco, another neighbor.
7News also spoke with families who live nearby, who said this is a reminder to always have a plan in case of an emergency. “It’s a reminder to check your smoke detectors,” said Lopez. “You never know, in the middle of the night a fire or something. Get them checked, and make sure the batteries work and make a plan for your family.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and officials said it could be days before their investigation determines what started the blaze.
Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.