13 y/o tries to rescue trapped woman...
There's a video report on this off of boston.com, too.
Malden woman, 72, dies trapped in her burning home
By Jack Encarnaco, Globe Correspondent | July 7, 2004
MALDEN -- A woman known by neighbors as the ''neighborhood mother" died yesterday when flames engulfed her century-old three-decker home.
''I'm going to die; I'm going to die!" Rose Bettano screamed as one neighborhood boy struggled to free her from her first-floor apartment, which firefighters and neighbors said was strewn with newspapers, rags, and debris.
Michael DiGregorio, 13, and two friends were passing by around 1 p.m. when they noticed smoke rising from the home on Madison Street.
Bettano, 72, who neighbors said lived there for more than 40 years, was trapped inside.
''We heard her right when it got bad," said Brian Anderson, 14. ''She was screaming her lungs out."
Anderson said he called police while DiGregorio attempted to rescue Bettano, who owned the home. DiGregorio and unidentified bystanders broke down burning doors, smashed windows, and ducked falling wood in an attempt to reach Bettano, they said. Neighbors said she was severely overweight and that that probably slowed her efforts to exit.
''We were like, 'Don't worry, you're not going to die, we're coming to you,' " said DiGregorio, who was not injured. ''We were just trying to comfort her because there was no way we could have found her in time."
Firefighters, three of whom suffered minor injuries, found Bettano's body soon after, in the rear of her apartment, where officials said the fire began. Firefighters from five surrounding cities and towns responded to the blaze.
Late yesterday, officials said they did not know the cause of the blaze, but were investigating whether the clutter contributed to the fire's rapid spread.
A well-liked woman whom neighbors knew as Rosie, Bettano often sat on her porch and waved to all who passed by.
''Sweet, sweet lady," said James Hooks, 22, who had known her since he was 4 years old. ''She looked out for all of us. She was like a neighborhood mother."
Firefighters rescued an unidentified 22-year-old man from a second floor in the building. Officials said they took him to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. His condition was unavailable last night.
After the fire began in the rear of the building, it quickly engulfed two floors and significantly damaged portions of the third, Malden Deputy Fire Chief Jack Colangeli said. ''There was a large amount of debris in the home," Colangeli said. ''The intensity of the fire made rescue attempts extremely difficult. The guys took a tremendous beating."
Colangeli said three firefighters were treated for minor injuries. Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office were on the scene yesterday interviewing witnesses.
David Abel of the Globe staff contributed to this report.