Woman Killed, 2 New Mexico Firefighters Injured in Blaze

Aug. 25, 2008
The woman was trapped, but firefighters couldn't save her.


A woman died and two firefighters, who tried to save her, were injured after a house fire early Sunday morning. The woman's son was also injured and was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

When Bernalillo county firefighters said they arrived at a South Valley duplex, near Bridge and Goff streets, flames were shooting 100 feet high. They said it could be seen from miles away.

"It was bad. It was really bad," Maria Montoya said.

Montoya was asleep when the fire started next door.

"My grandson woke me up and told me something was going on. When I walked out, the house was already up in flames," Montoya said.

It turns out Montoya, the victim's best friend, lived in the neighborhood the last seven years.

"I thought, 'Where is she? Where is she?'" Montoya said.

But the woman was trapped and firefighters couldn't save her.

"Right now, I feel like I'm having a nervous breakdown, to tell you the truth," Montoya said.

As Montoya looked at the destruction, she said can't begin to understand the magnitude of this loss.

"Right now, I'm in shock. It hasn't hit me," Montoya said.

Montoya said she is trying to remember how her friend lived.

"She was a very good person, a very loving person. She had a lot of friends. Everybody loved her," Montoya said.

And she said she's trying to figure out how to move past this tragedy.

"I don't know. I guess I just have to take it one day at a time," Montoya said.

Two Bernalillo county firefighters suffered minor injuries trying to rescue the woman.

Flames actually damaged the power lines outside of the duplex and dozens were without power Sunday.

PNM is in the area working to repair the problem and said it expects everything to be fixed in a few hours.

Firefighters said this is the time when they see a spike in house fires because the weather isn't as warm. They warned everyone to be especially careful with heating appliances.

Copyright 2008 by KOAT.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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