Woman pulled from burning mobile home dies

Jacksonville officers spot fire while out on unrelated call, JSO says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman pulled from a mobile home fire Thursday morning in the Pine Forest neighborhood of Jacksonville's Southside died at the hospital, police said.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, officers in the neighborhood on an unrelated call spotted smoke coming from a trailer on Victor Street around 7:30 a.m.

The officers could see flames inside the home and one of them kicked in the front door, JSO spokesman Officer Christian Hancock said. Flames burst from the home, pushing the officer out. He suffered superficial burns that did not require treatment, Hancock said.

Officers called Jacksonville Fire Rescue and firefighters were able to quickly put the fire out. They found a woman inside with critical injuries. She was taken to a hospital, where she died.

On Friday, police identified the victim as 53-year-old Sherry Meade. Family members tell News4Jax she had been a greeter at Walmart, but hadn't been able to work for several years due to a disability.

The state fire marshal will investigate the cause of the fire. Jacksonville police are investigating the death.

Hancock said the trailer appeared to have been destroyed by the fire. News4Jax was told the victim's sister also lived in the home, along with a boyfriend of one of the women, but family members were too shaken to provide any additional information.

Neighbor Debbie Penland said the woman's sister works night shifts and came home to find the house in flames shortly before the officers spotted the smoke and came to help.

Penland said she has lived across the street for eight years. Her porch is 200 yards from the mobile home, and she said she could feel the heat from the flames Thursday morning.

"It’s tough to wake up to. ... There was a tornado of fire coming off the top of the house. I have never seen anything like that," Penland said. "The whole neighborhood was running around screaming; I was screaming."

Penland said the woman who died loved flowers and her backyard was full of them.

"She gave me a bunch of flowers," Penland said.

Another neighbor added that she was "very kind."

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