TAMPA (FOX 13) - Four Tampa Police Department officers were injured Thursday when they tried to save a woman from her burning home.
Unfortunately, the woman did not survive, in spite of the officers' bravery.
Firefighters got the first call about the fire around 7:30 a.m. When crews arrived at 3405 East Fern Street in east Tampa, there was heavy smoke coming from the home's southeast corner.
But before firefighters arrive, four TPD officers were at the scene and ran inside to search for any victims.
That's when they found the female victim, later identified as 57-year-old Valerie Fleming, and pulled her from the home.
Tampa fire officials say it appears Fleming had already passed away before officers could reach her.
Three of the police officers were taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation. They are expected to be OK, according to Jason Penny, a spokesperson for Tampa Fire Rescue.
The fourth officer, Lt. Bryan Hill was treated at the scene.
“It’s hard to comprehend that situation. It’s just an unfortunate situation, possibly saving a life, and that smoke can be overwhelming within a matter of seconds,” Lt. Hill said.
Officials say the fire does not seem to be suspicious but the official cause has not been determined.
A neighbor, who lived in the area for five decades, tells FOX 13 he called 911 and fire trucks arrived within a few minutes.
"She's a very good neighbor," he said. "It's a sad loss."