Woman dies trying to save mother from house fire

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - An intense mid-afternoon house fire on the city's west side has left one woman dead and her mother receiving treatment at a Savannah hospital.

Savannah Fire & Emergency Services investigators say 51-year-old Loretta Badger died as a result of injuries she sustained during the blaze at her home at 1507 Stuyvesant St.  The deceased's mother, 88-year-old Mary Badger, was being treated late Tuesday afternoon for smoke inhalation and a wrist injury at Candler Hospital. Both women were pulled from their burning home by Savannah firefighters, who administered aid until emergency medical personnel arrived on scene.

"This is very difficult. She took care of her mom. That was her duty to take care of her mother," best friend Bay Hodges said.

Family members say Loretta Badger came out of the burning home, but went back inside to find her mother.

"These days are going to be difficult. But are going to pull through for the kids. We have to stay strong for them," friend Cheryl Evans said.

Savannah firefighters were dispatched to the location just before 2:20 p.m. and reported heavy smoke and flames upon their arrival. Firefighters were able to make entry into the burning structure to search for victims just before the entire interior of the house was engulfed in flames. The blaze was so intense that on scene commanders ordered firefighters out of the structure for safety reasons. The firefighters continued to battle the blaze in a defensive posture until it was brought under control.

During the operation, flames continued to pour out of windows and through the roof of the house, which is located at the southwest corner of Stuyvesant St. and Meadows Ave. At one point, the roof collapsed, causing a partial cave in of a ceiling inside the house. Firefighters were able to eventually gain control of the blaze and extinguish it without it spreading to nearby structures or vehicles.

SFES investigators are examining the damage to try and determine the fire's point of origin and ignition source.

Family members say they were using space heaters in the home and suspect that many have sparked the blaze.

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