MODESTO (CBS13) — Fire crews were unable to save an elderly woman trapped inside a burning Modesto home on Tuesday.

Heavy smoke and fast-moving flames engulfed the back part of the house along Hackett and Carpenter roads near Modesto.

When crews arrived, the roof over the family room had collapsed and the fire was running in the attic.

At least 30 firefighters rushed to the scene and not only had to deal with the flames but an electrical line.

“We also had an issue with an electrical power drop coming from the pole that was on fire and had the potential and finally did burn through and drop onto an aluminum patio,” Modesto Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Hugo Patino said.

Once they got inside, it was too late. Firefighters were unable to get the woman out alive.

Louis Martinho bought the house from the woman, whose name wasn’t immediately available pending her family’s notification, but allowed her to continue to live there with a caretaker.

“We’ve gotten along very well for the five years that I knew her,” he said. “She’d been here for so long and hated to move and that’s when I started talking to her and said, ‘Well, I can take care of the grounds.'”

Now, he’s just trying to focus on the woman he built a friendship with and cope with the loss of one of the strongest people he’s ever met.

“When she wanted to tell you something, she kept to her guns but she was easy to get along with,” Martinho said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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