Former Firefighter Describes Attempt to Save Woman from Burning Home

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The man who attempted to save a woman from a burning home Monday night spoke with FOX 4 News on Tuesday afternoon.

Wanting to use his first name only, John, a former Holt, Mo., firefighter said he was driving down Vivion Road around 8:30 p.m. on Monday when he smelled smoke. He soon discovered a home in the 4000 block of NE 51st Terr. on fire and rushed over. He said he ran to a nearby home and told the people inside to call 911. John said he then ran to the back door of the home and kicked it down. John said he then crawled on his belly through the home to what he believes was a bedroom door.

John said it was difficult to breath and the ceiling started to cave in. He said at that point he knew he had to get out. Crawling back outside, firefighters met John in the yard where they discovered he was having trouble breathing. He was transported to an area hospital with smoke inhalation.

Firefighters entered the home and found Theresa Meloy, 50, unconscious in her bedroom. She was taken to the hospital where she later died. Three of her pets were also killed in the fire.

meloyfireFamily members said Meloy lived alone with her three dogs, which she deeply loved. She had previously worked at Ford Motor Company and has just finished her degree in social work. Family members said she loved helping others and enjoyed cooking.

While firefighters have not determined a cause, Meloy's family said it's possible the fire originated in the kitchen.

A former Holt, Mo., firefighter named John discovered the blaze as he drove by the home. He ran to help and tried kicking in the door, but was overcome by smoke and passed out in the yard. He was taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation but is expected to be okay.

Firefighters said the home had smoke detectors, but none of them had any batteries. The fire department plans to canvass the neighborhood later this week to make sure neighbors' detectors are ready for an emergency.

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