Elderly Couple, 17 Pets Die In Rancho Cordova House Fire

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS Sacramento) — An elderly woman’s cries for help could be heard by neighbors as flames engulfed her Rancho Cordova home early Sunday morning.

Firefighters later found the bodies of the woman and her husband.

“You could hear the dogs barking and the lady screaming for help, but we couldn’t do anything,” said neighbor Skyla Rivera.

Fire crews responded to the home on Georgetown Drive around 4 a.m.

“The screams were ‘help, help, help,’ ” said Rivera.

Rivera is still shaken at the site of her neighbor pleading to be saved.

“The glass kept shattering and the flames were everywhere, and it was hard to breath. There was just so much smoke,” she said.

The smoke and fire overwhelmed Arlene and Leon Johnson along with the couple’s 17 pets — four dogs, three cats and 10 birds.

It took fire fighters nearly 15 minutes to douse the flames; but by then it was too late to save anyone trapped inside.

“It’s so sad; they are such a nice couple,” said another neighbor.

A neighbor says the couple leaves two daughters and grandchildren behind. The Johnsons apparently moved to this neighborhood in 1971 and had lived at this home ever since.

“We weren’t able to get her out. I wish I could have done something more,” said Rivera.

More than a dozen of the couple’s pets also died in the early morning fire.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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