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Granddaughter Tries to Save Grandmother from Burning Home

Smoke and flames poured out of a home in the 1900 block of Bristol Dr. in Sweetwater Monday afternoon -- a tragic fire that would ultimately claim the life of 61-year-old Neva Cole and leave a family in mourning.
Smoke and flames poured out of a home in the 1900 block of Bristol Dr. in Sweetwater Monday afternoon -- a tragic fire that would ultimately claim the life of 61-year-old Neva Cole and leave a family in mourning.

"I would come over everyday and sleep beside her, eat beside her, watch movies with her...scary movies," said Hannah French, Cole's granddaughter Tuesday morning.

Hannah said a neighbor saw the fire and quickly ran next door to the home where she lives with her parents. Hannah's mother Donnette Wallace is Cole's daughter.

"I was freaking out, like, I have got to get my grandmother out, I've got to get her out," Hannah said.

So 13-year-old Hannah sprang into action, racing across the lawns that separate the two homes and nearly into the burning house.

"I tried to break the front door, I couldn't break that so I went to the back and I broke the back door and then my dad pulled me out, because he didn't want me to go in there," French said.

Firefighters eventually doused the fire before it spread to any nearby homes, but it was too late. Cole and her dog were killed in the fire.

Cole, who suffered from emphysema, was hooked up to oxygen tanks, which may have fueled the flames even more.

"She had a lot of medical problems," Hannah explained.

Wallace had moved her mother next door to her home, in an effort to keep a closer eye on her ailing health.

The Sweetwater Fire Department is still searching for an exact cause as of Tuesday afternoon. Investigators believe the fire may have been caused by an electrical issue, but are awaiting an engineer to confirm that.
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