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Woman dies after house fire in Bay View, firefighters urge working smoke detectors

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- An elderly woman died Saturday after a house fire in the Bay View neighborhood. 

At Nock and Superior in Milwaukee.

“There was smoke pouring out of every window the basement, the vents in the roofs, there was just smoke coming out of everywhere," said neighbor Chris Haertl. 

Fire and smoke engulfed this house on the corner.

A neighbor said three people lived inside: a woman in her 80s, her son in his 60s, and a roommate.

But when fire crews arrived, they found the older woman in an upstairs bedroom.

“In critical condition. We don’t know if it was smoke inhalation or not," Milwaukee Fire Department Asst. Chief of Operations David Votsis said.

The woman later died.

Before crews arrived, good Samaritans tried to alert anyone inside.

“And then I broke the window to the left of the door and smoke just billowed out," said good samaritan Ryan Fahrnow, who was driving by when the fire started.

“And then, by the time the firemen got all set up it was too late because there was just fire everywhere," Haertl added.

The assistant fire chief said flames started in the basement then crawled up the walls.

He said an unfinished basement, hoarding and no working smoke detectors contributed to violent spread of the fire.

“And I just want to remind the community the importance of a very cheap, working smoke detector and that it saves lives, it saves lives on a daily basis," Votsis.

If you don’t have a working smoke detector in your home, you can call the Milwaukee Fire Smoke Detector Hotline at 414-286-8980 to have one installed for free.

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