NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A good Samaritan risked his life Tuesday to try and rescue a woman from a house fire. Despite his best efforts, she was pronounced dead a local hospital that night.
John talked to 41 Action News about his attempts to save the woman, but asked that we not use his last name. The 50-year-old said he was driving in the 3900 block of NE 51st Terrace around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw smoke pouring from a house.
The woman was trapped inside a back bedroom when the flames broke out, according to the Kansas City Fire Department.
John said he tried to rescue her, but he was overcome with smoke.
"I kept trying to kick the back door in. It had dead bolts, so it took me a while to get through it. Once I got in the house, the ceiling started falling down," he said. "So I turned back around and left, and by the time the fire department got here one of them grabbed me on the back porch and help me to an ambulance."
Firefighters were able to get the woman out of the home, but she died from her injuries. One family member said she was in her early 50s.
"Dying in a fire is the worst way to go," John said. "I wish I could've done much more."
John was treated for smoke inhalation at North Kansas City Hospital. He was released Wednesday morning.
Police have not identified the victim.
On Wednesday morning, family members gathered and hugged each other outside the burned home. They said the victim lived in the community for 10 years and worked at Ford. According to her family, she was well-liked by her peers and her community.
Chief James Garrett said the home had no working smoke detectors.
"The biggest lesson that I like to stress to everyone is that the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department gives free smoke detectors. If you don't have a smoke detector, by all means, call us at 816-784-9200. If you do have a smoke detector and it needs batteries, call us," he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.