A woman died in a fire in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, on Sunday after she saved her family but “was apparently overcome by the smoke” as she reentered the home to try to save their pets, authorities say.
Kenny Mills told News4 Monday that he's alive because his wife, Phyllis, rescued him from their home in the 10100 block of Jim Morris Road.
Phyllis Mills discovered the blaze and helped her husband and sister, Karen, get out, Kenny Mills and authorities said.
Then, Phyllis went back inside the burning home to rescue more of their dogs.
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She never made it out.
"Bravery. And her love for everybody I think," Kenny Mills said when asked about his wife.
They were married for nearly 50 years, he said.
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Rescue crews received a report that someone was trapped and responded at about 8 a.m. Spotsylvania Fire, Rescue, & Emergency Management said.
Firefighters arrived within five minutes and found heavy smoke and fire, the department said.
Kenny was treated for smoke inhalation and released from the hospital on Monday. Phyllis' sister Karen is expected to get out of the hospital in a few days, the family said.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the deadly fire. A photo shows the charred wreckage.
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The fire department extended condolences to the family but warned fire victims to never return into a burning building.
“We mourn with the family at the loss of their loved one who died after heroically saving other family members,” they said. “We ask everyone to never re-enter a building on fire to save pets or belongings, urging everyone to ‘get out and stay out’ in the event of a fire.”
Phyllis was a school bus driver in Stafford County for 30 years.
Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.