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Lightning blamed in house fire that killed Socorro woman

KOB.com Web Staff
July 17, 2017 06:27 PM

SOCORRO, N.M. -- Investigators in Socorro say lightning appears to be to blame for the death of an elderly woman this past weekend. She died in her home after a chain reaction from the lightning strike.

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It's believed that lightning triggered a fire that killed 93-year-old Frances Molina in her home. Molina, who lived in her home for 80 years, apparently died from smoke inhalation.

"There was a lot of lightning. It was raining at the time of the fire. There was a lot of lightning all over the place," Socorro Fire Chief Joe Gonzalez said.

The preliminary investigation into the tragedy suggests a lightning strike on Molina Hill caused a chain reaction. Investigators believe that the lightning struck a pole nearly 200 feet from the century-old house. They say that caused a surge in the living room of the old adobe home.

Socorro firefighters were able to respond quickly to the call out. 

"We responded within two minutes. We were there within five minutes," Gonzalez said. "Unfortunately, there was an elderly female that didn't make it out of the house."

Socorro is a small town where practically everyone knows each other. So when this close-knit community loses someone, it affects everyone.

"It does. We're a small community. Everybody knew the family," Gonzalez said. "There are five brothers we all knew who they were."

The investigation has been handed over to the state fire marshal's office to determine precisely what happened.

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KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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