WORCESTER (CBS) – An elderly woman was killed in a fire in Worcester Monday morning. More lives could have been lost if it wasn’t for the brave actions of an off-duty fire lieutenant.

A hole in the roof, above the front bedroom, was where the fire appeared to have started, investigators say. The fire then appeared to move to the bedroom where 85-year-old Marie Montalvo was sleeping.

Sixteen-year-old Eleni Kiorpes took video of the smoke billowing from the house next door, as an off duty firefighter, who lives behind the Montalvos, ran in without any gear.

“I know she’s been housebound,” Kiorpes said. “I saw the lady and I was shocked. I wish there were something I could’ve done to help.”

Kiorpes recalls the off-duty firefighter running from the back of the house and breathing heavily.

“They were sitting on the side of my driveway,” Kiorpes said. “I was very scared.”

The victim’s son and husband, both in their 60’s, were rescued. Firefighters carried Montalvo out on a stretcher. She later died at the hospital.

“She was our sweet mom and mother-in-law, and now she’s gone,” a family member said.

All this in a remote neighborhood in Worcester for firefighters to get to just before 7:00 a.m.

“At that time of the morning it has an opportunity to get along a little quicker than we would see in the middle of the day. People would notice it,” said Deputy Chief John Sullivan, of the Worcester Fire Department.

“Just sad when things like that happen in this neighborhood,” a neighbor said.

At this point it is unclear how long the fire had been burning before anyone woke up and noticed it. Investigators are still looking for the cause of the fire.


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