WEIRTON, W.Va. --
A lightning bolt set a Weirton house on fire Wednesday morning while a woman slept inside. Witnesses and firefighters worked hard to save her life but the flames and smoke proved too strong.
Firefighters said they couldn't save 77-year-old Helga Sarap. Firefighters said one reason they couldn't save her was because of what they found inside her house.
"We saw lightning hit the roof. Next thing, my boss saw smoke. We went over and tried to put the fire out the best we could with smoke extinguishers," said witness Shawn Delaney.
Delaney and his co-workers, on a job in the neighborhood, tried hard to help but couldn't put the fire out and couldn't save Sarap.
"They got her to the window and she went back into the house," said Weirton Fire Chief Dave Lashhorn. "Most likely she was looking for her normal escape route through the bedroom, out the back or front door."
Firefighters said Sarap didn't make it far from her bedroom before she collapsed in the hallway.
"The smoke will cause confusion very quickly and you succumb to that," said Lashhorn.
Firefighters couldn't even get through the smoke and flames to save Sarap.
"It was full of clothing, debris, very limited access. Basically, there was just a path through the whole house," said Lashhorn.
Forced to crawl through the home, firefighters found Sarap underneath all the clothes.
Neighbors and family are stunned and saddened by the loss of Sarap.
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