Fire crews rescued a woman trapped in a burning home near the intersection of North 17th Street and Homan Avenue on Tuesday morning, Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum said.
Firefighters responded shortly before 10 a.m. after multiple area residents called 911 to report rising flames coming from the two-story home. Two occupants escaped, and one was still inside as flames rose from the home.
“Fire crews arrived on scene within four minutes and encountered heavy fire and smoke,” Tatum said. “They received reports of one person trapped in the rear of the house, so additional crews went to the rear of the house in an effort to save the person trapped inside.”
Firefighters found one woman, identified as Dorothy Calderon, 85, still in the home and pulled her to safety. After her rescue, Calderon was taken to was taken to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center for treatment and later transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where she remained in critical condition in the hospital’s burn unit, Waco Deputy Fire Marshal Riley Kilgo said.
“It was a rapidly moving fire, heavy fire and heavy smoke throughout the residence, so (the woman who was trapped inside) may have been disoriented and unable to get out under her own power,” Tatum said. “The two other occupants were able to exit the home under their own power.”
Flames appeared to destroy the front portion of the home and entryway before firefighters arrived.
Tatum said at least two cats died in the fire, and family members continued to look for three other cats that escaped during the fire. A dog kept in a garage apartment on the property also survived the fire.
Waco police diverted traffic around the home during the firefighting efforts, and utility crews were called to the home to disconnect working utilities.
Kilgo said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but initial reports suggest a heater on the front porch may have malfunctioned, sparking the fire. He estimated total damage at about $60,000.