TAMPA (FOX 13) - Intense flames burned a deputy who was trying to rescue two people from a burning mobile home overnight, but ultimately the woman and her young grandson died in the blaze.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the fire began around 11 p.m. Wednesday inside a home near the intersection of Clewis Avenue and Garden Lane, just east of the Florida State Fairgrounds. Deputies found the home ablaze and a man outside suffering from smoke inhalation and burns after trying and failing to rescue the two people still inside the home.
"I look out and half the trailer was engulfed. I had to go over there and drag Junior out," a neighbor recalled, referring to the injured man.
Deputies then tried to get inside, but the fire flared up and injured one of them, sending him to the hospital with minor burns on his hands. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue was eventually able to extinguish the fire, but it was too late for the people inside.
Family members have since identified the victims as Benjamin Albriza, 2, and his 58-year-old grandmother, Eva Diaz.
An arson dog from Clearwater Fire Rescue was on scene early Thursday, sniffing for any signs of accelerants.
The injured deputy, Dane Tewmey, is a six-year department veteran. He has been released from the hospital after being burned on his arms and hands.