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Early-morning fire kills one in Molina neighborhood

Posted at 12:11 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 19:10:40-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some residents in the Molina neighborhood woke to a horrifying scene Valentine’s Day morning.

One of the homes on National Drive, occupied by an elderly woman, was engulfed in flames. Neighbors tried to rescue her, but the flames and smoke forced them back.

Guy Lewis knew something was wrong the moment he woke up.

“My dogs woke me up this morning around six, and when I came out the house was on fire,” Lewis said.

Lewis lives across the street from the burning house. He knew the elderly woman who lived there still was inside.

“It's just a sad situation,” Lewis said.

As another neighbor called 911, Lewis tried to help the woman.

“We couldn't get her out,” said Lewis. “I tried to go in there, but the smoke . . . I got the door open and I crawled in there, only about 10 feet, then the smoke hit me and knocked me out.”

Not long after that, firefighters arrived on-scene and were met with heavy fire and smoke.

“When they made entry, unfortunately, they did encounter one fatality,” said Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha.

Neighbors said the building actually a converted storage shed the woman was living in while a new house was built on the property. The victim's husband said she could have moved in to the new home as early as next week.

“I assure you, the fire department will do everything it can to investigate the cause of the fire,” Rocha said.

The Medical Examiner's office believes the victim is 93-year-old Lorraine Hill. A man who identified himself as HIll's husband, Jerry, was in tears Friday, saying “I couldn't save her” over and over.