A house fire claimed the lives of three people and sent a fourth to a hospital early Sunday morning.
Crews were called to the house just before 3:30 a.m. Firefighters received reports that people were trapped inside and although it only took them two minutes to get there, the fire was just too aggressive.
A woman who was visiting the residents managed to get out, but her husband didn't survive.
Thick black smoke was seen billowing out of a home on 14th Avenue and Buckeye Road. Flames shot out of the front door and windows.
"Apparently there was one person at a window yelling for help, some passersby were able to pull her out," said Phoenix Fire spokesperson Larry Nunez.
Nunez says three others remained trapped inside when the roof collapsed.
All three were pronounced dead on the scene by the medical examiner just hours later.
71-year-old Connie Romero and her son, 54-year-old Ruben Romero, were among the victims.
"She was a strong woman and you know the Lord gave her a lot of years," said Maryann Delgado, Connie Romero's daughter.
Romero's husband of 28 years and her children were emotional over the loss of a woman they described as loving and kind. She was a woman who wanted nothing more than to stay in her home.
"She didn't want to leave her house. She loves her house. They turned the power off because they were supposed to fix the roof for her and they never did," said Sophia Delgado, Connie Romero's daughter.
"The elderly female and possibly her son were living here for some time. We understand there was no electricity to this house and they may have been using candles for light," said Sgt. Steve Martos with Phoenix Police.
Investigators are looking into the exact cause, but say candles may have caused the fire. The family confirmed the lights hadn't been on in three years.
"A lot of years, she stood strong all those years," said Maryann Delgado.
The woman who escaped suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns. She's expected to be fine.
Her husband died in the fire. Police tell us the couple was staying with the Romero's for a couple of days.
The 71-year old's husband was in Tucson when the fire broke out.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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