65-year-old woman died in Polk house fire

By Rick Elmhorst ,
Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2017, 8:35 PM EST

A 65-year-old woman was killed in a house fire early Monday morning in the Imperial Lakes subdivision of Mulberry. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman as Elizabeth Herbst.

  • Authorites say Elizabeth Herbst, 65, died early Monday morning
  • Neighbors said she lived alone, and had health problems

Polk Fire said crews arrived at the home on Water Oak Court at 2:50 a.m. and flames were already visible through the roof.

Firefighters went inside the home to search for the family, but conditions got so bad they had get back outside before they could rescue Elizabeth.  

Neighbors said she lived alone and had health problems.

“She became somewhat of a recluse," said nearby resident Henry Lamb. "We seldom saw her, unfortunately, in the neighborhood."

"I really didn't know her," added neighbor Kathy Jones. "But that’s beside the point. It’s a neighbor and it’s somebody’s life."

Jones and other neighbors believe Herbst’s health problems may have prevented her from escaping her home while she still had a chance.

“That’s the really sad part,” said Jones. “Not evening having a chance to get up and, you know, get out of the house.”