Elderly woman dies in West Valley fire

Elderly woman dies in West Valley fire
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Family and friends try to pick sentimental items from the ashes and rubble.

Janice Smith lived at this mobile home along Meadowbrook Road with her daughter. Janice's nephew tells us the woman tried desperately to save her mother.

"Apparently she woke up in the early morning hours and found the house full of smoke. She ran back to get her mom. Then she ran out to call 911," Vince McCoy said.

The mobile home was filled with dangerous smoke. Chip Michalski is a neighbor and family friend. He says he was the first to the scene and knew there was no way he could get inside to rescue 79-year old, Janice.

"This area of the house was just billowing with black and grey smoke,"Chip said, pointing to the front of the home.

Crews are still trying to figure out exactly what started the fire around sun up. They say an electrical problem might be to blame. Investigators say there were no working smoke detectors in the home.

Vince says his family is focusing on helping Janice's daughter, Vicki, rather than worrying about how this happened.

"Well we're gonna do everything we can to support Vicki and do what we can to help her rebuild," Vince said.

"This is a nightmare for anybody to go through this. Nobody should have to go through this," Chip said.

Vince says he's a former firefighter and knows the West Valley crews did all they could to save his aunt.

"Thank you to the West Valley firefighters for doing what they had to do. Your job is never easy. And, just thank you," Vince said.