Elderly woman critically hurt in house fire

Neighbor who tried to help also injured

By Stacey Readout - Assistant News Director

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - An elderly woman was critically injured in a house fire in St. Augustine early Monday morning.

The fire broke out at a home on Evergreen Avenue shortly after midnight.

The woman had been smoking and a box caught fire, according to her roommate. The woman tried to carry the box outside and set it down on a small cushioned chair to open the door, according to the State Fire Marshal.

When the woman picked the box back up, her clothes caught fire.

Neighbor Horace Crooms said he walked outside, saw the fire and jumped into action. He was able to get her daughter to call 911.

"First thing that hit me was to grab her and pull her out," Crooms said. "I wasn't thinking at the time. Only thing I know was I had to pull her out of there and try to douse her out, get her out, get the flames off her. Before I knew it, she was engulfed in flames. She wasn't screaming or anything, she wasn't hollering or nothing. That surprised me because she was form the head on down engulfed in flames."

A neighbor came over to help and he was also injured. He was transported to Flagler Hospital, according to the State Fire Marshal. His injuries were not known.

"Why God chose me to do it, I don't know. To find her like that. I just thank God and pray she's OK," Crooms said.

Jonathan Jackson lives nearby and said he awoke to the noise of fire engines and walked outside to see what was going on.

"I said, 'What happened?'" Jackson said. "I didn't know it was actually until they told me. I saw them throwing stuff out of the house that was on fire, whatever she was holding."

The woman was transported to UF Health Gainesville to be treated in its burn unit. Her identity was not immediately released.

The woman's roommate made it out of the home, but went to the emergency room in a relative's car to be checked out.

According to the St. Augustine Fire Department, a third person was injured in the fire and taken to Flagler Hospital with minor injuries. We do not yet know who that person was.

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