One dead in Bonita Springs house fire

Posted at 9:21 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 08:04:08-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- A Bonita Springs family is left devastated, after flames ripped through their home on Dortch Avenue Tuesday morning, killing a loved one and a dog.

Family members said that 75-year-old Shirley Corrigan was unable to escape the fire. 

Jameson Gray happened to be in the neighborhood with his lawn service crew around 8:30 a.m. when they saw smoke, and heard a woman in the street crying that her mother was inside the house.  "We ended up coming in," Gray said. "There was a kid scrunched down by the door...I grabbed the kid."

Co-worker Christian Valiente said he focused on trying to get to the woman trapped behind a locked door. She somehow couldn't get it open.  "I heard the lady," Valiente said. "I was banging on the door telling her to open the door, and she was just crying and panicking. I was trying to get her to open the door so I could get her out."

He said that an officer who arrived on scene pulled him out of the burning house. When firefighters later searched the home, they found Corrigan's body.

Bonita Springs Deputy Fire Chief Frank Giuliano said that many house fires spread too quickly for some people to get out, before being overcome by smoke and toxic fumes from furniture materials.

"Even the things you would think are wood are compressed, glued-together pieces of sawdust," Giuliano said. "And everything's plastic, so it reverts back to petroleum, what plastic is made of."

A cause for the fire has yet to be determined, but officers with the state fire marshal's office were on scene investigating. The American Red Cross is assisting the family with housing, clothing and grief counseling.

More photos HERE.