TAMPA, Fla. (AP/WTSP) — Authorities say a Florida woman ran back into her burning apartment after realizing her two children hadn’t made it out. All three died in the fire.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said during a Wednesday morning news conference that the woman and another adult living in the apartment made it safely outside after the fire broke out around 3:30am at the Captiva Club Apartments on Club Captiva Drive in Town 'n' Country, Fla. That’s when she noticed the children, ages 5 and 10, didn’t make it out.
The sheriff said running back to save the children was a great “action of love” displayed by the mother.
Sheriff Chronister said, “I don’t even know how to comment. For a mother’s love, to go back in and know that my children may be inside, not knowing that they were inside, but they may be inside and she lost her life because of it. I mean, is there any greater actions of love than the one displayed by this mother today?"
The names of the victims weren’t immediately released.
The fire started in a second-floor apartment and spread quickly through a shared attic. When firefighters arrived, flames were already penetrating the roof, which later collapsed.
It took around 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.
Officials say at least 12 residents were displaced by the fire, which damaged eight apartments. The Red Cross is assisting those displaced.
WTSP reports this is the third fire at this apartment complex in the last three-and-a-half years. Around a dozen units were destroyed by a fire in 2015 and several more units were damaged at a fire in 2018.
An investigation into this fatal fire continues.