JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two women died after a house fire Friday morning in the city’s Grand Park neighborhood, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
Firefighters received a call about 1:30 a.m. about a fire on Rickenbacker Street, near Division Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
Betty Jean Bostic, 74, died shortly after the fire was put out. Her daughter, Martha Bostic Hartley, 60, died later at Shands UF burn center in Gainesville.
Bostic’s great-grandson, Monte Bostic, was also in the home when the fire started. He said he woke up smelling smoke coming from the living room.
"(It was) a fire caused by electricity somewhere in the walls," Monte Bostic said. "I tried my best to help my people get out, even though the fire was deep."
Monte Bostic said he was able to get Betty Bostic out of the home. When he went back in to get Hartley, he said the flames had become so intense, and the smoke so thick that he had to run in and out several times to get air as he attempted to save her.
“That's my family," Monte Bostic said. "I can't help but try to help. I don't know about anybody else, that's just me, part of me. If it's not for me going back in there, I wouldn't be able to help anybody, but me going back in there, I did help somebody."
Betty Bostic's neighbor Kelvin Allen said she was like family.
"There’s no words to describe it. It’s not biological family, but just like my family. Blood don’t make us no closer," Allen said. "Not being able to help them, it hurts. It hurts real bad, man. You couldn’t imagine."
Homicide detectives determined that the fire was not suspicious, officials said. The state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.
The flames were so intense that a neighbor's house was also damaged.
Family members tried to salvage what they could out of the burned home.