ASHLEY– One look at the stickers on Kim Krakauski’s home and car you know she was a woman of deep religious faith.
When fire broke out at her lifelong home on Green Street in Ashley, neighbors saw the car and figured she was inside.
Her cousin, Kara Lawson, lives just yards away. She says,”I just hear people yelling, screaming her name. It was just heartbreaking when she wasn’t even outside.”
Neighbors pulled out a hose, knocked out an air conditioner, and even tried to break down a door.
The fire was just too fierce.
Wayne Grilz lives next door, and did everything he could. The former volunteer firefighter says, “I felt helpless, when I have a little garden hose in my hand, and I hand it to someone else and I can’t do anything.”
The fire also damaged homes on either side, along with two vehicles.
Ashley’s Fire Chief, Joseph McGlynn says that any death in this tight-knit community is hard for his crew to bear. He says firefighters went into the burning home to save the victim, but couldn’t get to her in time. He says that firefighters found Krakauski between her living room and kitchen.
Neighbors wonder if she may have been trying to save her cats, who were also killed in the fire.
An aunt tells Newswatch 16 that Krakauski had completed treatments for cervical cancer, including chemotherapy, and had been told by doctors earlier in the year that she was cancer free. Krakauski had been enjoying the summer, sitting on her porch, and chatting with her friends and family.
Grilz says,”I lost a neighbor, and the community lost someone too.”
Mcglynn says,”She was a nice lady, and it is a terrible way to go. “
The chief tells Newswatch 16 that the fire appears to be accidental, but he plans to confer with a state fire marshal about the exact cause, probably on Monday.