Residents' efforts can't save woman in Phoenix apartment fire - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

UPDATE

Residents' efforts can't save woman in Phoenix apartment fire

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An elderly woman trapped in her second-floor apartment died from injuries suffered during a fire Tuesday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News) An elderly woman trapped in her second-floor apartment died from injuries suffered during a fire Tuesday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)
A man, who identified himself only as Eddie, kicked the locked security door until it bent enough to pull the woman out of the apartment. (Source: CBS 5 News) A man, who identified himself only as Eddie, kicked the locked security door until it bent enough to pull the woman out of the apartment. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Manuel Soto grabbed a rock and threw it through the front window of the apartment to try and reach the victim. (Source: CBS 5 News) Manuel Soto grabbed a rock and threw it through the front window of the apartment to try and reach the victim. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

An elderly Phoenix woman died from injuries she suffered during a fire in her apartment, despite the heroic efforts of other complex residents Tuesday morning.

The elderly woman became trapped by the fire in her unit about 5:30 a.m. because of a locked security door, one resident said.

Other residents kicked into action, grabbing fire extinguishers from the hallways and trying to put the fire out, said Capt. Tony Mure of the Phoenix Fire Department.

Resident Manuel Soto grabbed a rock and threw it through the front window of the woman's apartment near Second and Southern avenues just before firefighters arrived.

"She was on the floor and on fire, just balled up by the door," Soto said. "I told her to reach up and unlock the door, but she couldn't move."

Soto's brother-in-law, who identified himself only as Eddie, kicked the security door until it bent enough for him and others to pull the woman onto the balcony while others used fire extinguishers.

Mure said firefighters were hampered by the layout of the apartment complex and had to pull a longer fire hose to get to the apartment.

While some residents were helpful, others were more of a hindrance, Mure said.

"There were a lot of people running around and yelling," Mure said. "As the firefighters were pulling the hose, there was a lot of excitement going on. We had one civilian actually almost assaulting one of the firefighters as he was trying to pull the hose, was jumping on the firefighter. We had to knock him down so we could continue to pull the hose."

Mure credited residents of the complex who were getting ready to go to work for trying to help the woman.

He said residents did the right things, such as heeding the alarms and grabbing and using the fire extinguishers. He said when firefighters reached the second floor, she was on the balcony, but had already died from her injuries.

Mure said the cause of the fire hadn't been determined. The identity of the woman was not released.

The Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross said it was helping occupants of six units at the complex find alternative housing, food and clothing, and making mental health volunteers available to residents.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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