Neighbors tried to save fire victim

Neighbors tried to save fire victim
RICHLAND, Wash. - A Richland woman lost her life in a fire despite the valiant efforts of her neighbors.

KEPR talked to some witnesses who say they tried desperately to save Denise Myers, to no avail.

Jestina Mason took a picture of the fire. Flames shooting through the roof of her neighbor's home. It woke up the entire neighborhood on Fitch Street just before midnight Sunday.

She said, "You kinda go into this, I gotta go and do something mode.

Her next door neighbor Steven Smith agreed,"Exactly, I had an adrenaline rush."

But it was too late. Nothing could be done to save 54-year-old Denise Myers or her cats. Crews found her body in her bedroom, her animals close by.

Seventeen firefighters from three different departments responded to the call. It took them about 10-15 minutes to actually put out the fire. Still, fire authorities tell KEPR its going to be quite sometime until they figure out just what happened here."

Jestina and Steven heard glass popping. They thought it was a burglary, so they ran outside. By then, several other neighbors were already trying to help. They were screaming to Denise trying to figure out if she was still inside.

Steven said, "The only thing you could see from about 6-inches off the ground was smoke."

It's why he said he tried going through the front door first. It was locked so he and some other men went around the back. They kicked down the back door, but the heat was too much.

"You know, when you're next to a big campfire and you're standing just a little too close and your shins start to burn? Imagine that on one side of your body," Steven said.

It was then, he said, that he lost hope. Everyone else was standing around feeling helpless.

Jestina said, "All of us just were hoping that she went before the fire got to her you know, it was that bad."

A shocking loss to her neighbors.

An autopsy for Denise Myers was scheduled for today.

Investigators tell KEPR it would take a few weeks to find out how the fire started.