DERBY, N.Y. (WIVB) - A woman in the southtowns died Thursday morning after being trapped in her burning home.
Teresa Van Cheri's husband tried to save his wife from the fire on Hamilton Drive in Derby but the flames were too intense.
"That was a great family, he loved her to pieces. It was so sad to see him break down in the road and screaming and crying. That's what we woke up to," said neighbor Lisa Abramo.
The 52-year-old mother died in the blaze.
Neighbors say Van Cheri's husband came home from work at 2:30 a.m. and discovered smoke coming out of the house. With his wife inside, the man tried desperately to reach her in an upstairs bedroom, but couldn't.
Abramo said, "I think he had seen the downstairs was smoky and he couldn't get to the upstairs, so when he must have called 911 because then he ran over and we heard him screaming. It was heartwrenching."
"It was just somebody screaming and I came running out the door and then the window imploded and flames just came shooting out and then the cop car came flying up and grabbed him because he was trying to run back in the house again."
The couple is described as having three grown children and who lived on the street for about 15 years. A relative says Van Cheri used to work with the developmentally disabled until a couple of years ago when she got sick. She had been at home since.
Abramo said, "She was doing so much better and seeing her outside a lot and then that happened. It's a tragedy, it's terrible. I feel horrible for her."
"They're really nice people and it's going to be a shame to look over there and realize that things aren't going to be the same anymore," said Dean Colvin, another neighbor.
Investigators are still working to determine what caused the fire.
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