Family mourns woman killed in Aurora house fire

AURORA, Colo. -- An Aurora woman has died and one of her adult sons remains hospitalized in critical condition after a house fire Wednesday morning.

Family members say 58-year-old Janelle Vargas was in the shower when the fire started around 7:30 a.m. and was unable to get out of the house, even though family members and a good Samaritan tried to rescue her.

Albert Saavadra was on his way to work when he saw the smoke billowing into the sky. He stopped to help.

"He told me to save his wife. I went in. I couldn't do nothing. The smoke, I couldn't breathe. I tried. I'm so sorry," he said.

Several neighbors also heard the screams for help. They watched as family members huddled on the lawn outside the burning home.

"The first thing I saw was a boy in the street. Emergency EMTs were doing chest compressions on him and they were saying we have to go, we have to go now. They put him in the ambulance and yeah, it was a horrible scene," Judy Bronsetter said.

The boy was actually a young man who is  in critical condition. Family members said he suffered major smoke inhalation and likely suffered brain damage.

Four people were taken to the hospital. Everyone else is expected to recover.

"She was a beautiful woman. She was just wonderful and it's devastating," Bronsetter said of her neighbor.

The fire spread to two other homes, and also destroyed several vehicles and outbuildings. Firefighters said the smoke was so thick they couldn't see 10 feet across the street. Neighbors said the scene resembled a war zone.

"It was just explosion after explosion. A car explosion, a window explosion and everything," neighbor Angelica Avila said.

Officials said 38 firefighters and four ambulances were dispatched to the scene.

"This was a pretty serious fire with three houses on fire," a fire spokesman said.

Firefighters still haven't determined the cause of the fire.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family. A neighbor said they do not have insurance for the house.