LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - An elderly woman died after a fire broke out at a townhouse in Lauderhill.
Family members identified the victim as 70-year-old Tanena Love, a longtime resident of Lauderhill.
Lauderhill Fire Rescue units responded to several calls about the blaze along Northwest 22nd Street and 55th Terrace, just before 3 a.m., Friday.
“I saw the flames around the back, and that’s when I knew it was time to get the hell out,” one neighbor said.
Antoinette Gordon was one of the residents who called 911.
“Around two something, I smell smoke,” she said.
Gordon said the smoke was coming from Love’s house, which is located next to hers. She said the victim was her friend and neighbor for more than 20 years.
“I started to shake her gate, ‘Ms. Love, Ms. Love, Ms. Love,’ and she wouldn’t say anything,” said Gordon.
Crews arrived within minutes and tried to find their way inside a home that was pitch black with smoke.
“The visibility inside is zero, so close your eyes, put your hand in front of your face, that’s what you see,” said Lauderhill Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Levy. “Firefighters are searching with feel, they’re trying to see what they can, and it’s virtually impossible.”
Cameras captured the windows of the home blown out and the white walls charred.
According to fire officials, Love was trapped inside the home at the time of the fire.
“They were using a thermal imaging camera on top of searching by hand, and they were able to find the victim in the apartment,” said Levy.
Love was transported to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
“The victim was brought out, CPR was started, [the] victim was transported to Broward Medical Center where she, unfortunately, passed away,” said Levy.
When asked how the incident affected her, Gordon said, “Really hard, because, you know, my kids grow up with her, because she usually comes out, gives my kids snack, we sit at the gate, and we usually talk, so it’s kind of hard.”
Firefighters were able to rescue a cat from the home. The pet was taken to the Humane Society of Broward County.
Love also had a dog who did not survive the fire.
Love’s daughter, Christal Love Carson, sent a picture of her mother. Her post on social media reads in part, “My beautiful mother Tanena passed away last night. I am so happy I got to celebrate her 70th birthday with her not too long ago. My mother is a fierce, intelligent, amazing human being who put passion into everything she cared about. I will miss my mother so much. She is with her father God right now.”
At least two other families have been temporarily displaced due to smoke and water damage. The American Red Cross is assisting them
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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