At least 1 dead in fatal Polk County house fire

- Polk County Fire Rescue was on the scene of a fatal fire in the Imperial Lakes neighborhood of Mulberry Monday morning. 

Crews arrived at about 2:50 a.m. to the home at 5400 Water Oak Ct., where flames could be seen rising above the roof of the house. 

A neighbor told firefighters that someone lived in the home. Knowing someone could be inside, firefighters braved the heavy fire conditions and entered the home to conduct a search. 

According to a spokesperson for Polk County Fire Rescue, as the fire rescue crews attempted to search the bedrooms, conditions proved too dangerous for the firefighters to be inside. The commander ordered all crews to exit the home. 

The fire rescue crews continued to fight the fire from the outside, until it was safe enough to enter the building again. When they were finally able to enter the home, firefighters say they found one person dead in the living room. 

PCSO later identified the deceased as 65-year-old Mary Elizabeth Herbst. The death was ruled accidental, and related to thermal injuries.

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations and Polk County Sheriff's Officer also reported to the scene to investigate. 

 

 

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