Resident found dead after Mulberry home fire

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 8:37 AM EST

Polk County firefighters discovered a resident dead in the living room in a Mulberry home that was damaged by a severe fire Monday morning, officials stated.

  • Conditions were so bad that firefighters had to retreat out of the home at one point
  • Name of deceased not released

The Polk County Fire Rescue crews battled the fire at 5400 Water Oak Ct., in Mulberry, around 2:50 a.m., Kevin Watler, a communication specialist with the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, said.

Once firefighters got to the home, the fire could be seen through the roof. They tried to search bedrooms, but things grew too dangerous and an incident commander ordered the firefighters out of the home, Watler stated.

Once the fire was out and the conditions were safe, the firefighters went back in and discovered Elizabeth Herbst, 65, dead in the living room.

Neighbors said Herbst lived alone and suffered from health problems, making it difficult for her to escape. 

"And who knows....who knows if she even stood a chance of getting up and doing that," one neighbor said. 

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is examining the cause of the fire, while the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the person's death.