A former Miami police sergeant was killed in a fatal house fire Wednesday after a blaze inside his home.
Willy D. Williams suffered severe burns on his head and back. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead.
A group of children riding their bikes near Northwest 11th Avenue and 60th Street noticed smoke coming from the front windows of the corner house around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
They flagged down a Miami police officer who tried to get inside but fire investigators said the door was too hot and Williams' body blocked the path.
A neighbor who lives across the street called 911 for help.
"When I went over there, they were trying to break the (security) bars and get him out. One of the boys said he fell behind the door and we couldn't get the door open because it was a steel door and it was hot," said Gladys Brown.
When Miami Fire Rescue arrived on the scene, firefighters made their way in through another door and pulled Williams out.
Neighbors said they were saddened to hear the 23-year police force veteran had lost his life in the blaze inside his home.
"I was shocked he was in there because he's never at home," Drieka Dean said.
Although the outside of the retired police officer's home appeared meticulous, firefighters said the conditions inside the home impeded their job.
Willy D. Williams "He stored a lot of stuff in there and it made it difficult for units to locate the fire and get water on the hot spots to extinguish it completely," said Captain Pete Gomez.
Fire investigators have not filed their reports yet but preliminary evidence suggests the fire may have been accidental.
Piles of rubbish and numerous old appliances inside the home may have served as kindling, said Gomez.
Gomez called the stacks of trash a "big problem" for firefighters.
Williams lived alone in the two-story home. He was a sergeant with the Miami police department from 1962 to 1985 when he retired.
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