Reprinted with Permission

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Family members say an elderly woman died in a fierce Town of Tonawanda house fire.

The flames broke out around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday on Tonawanda Street.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire just before 5:30 a.m. and haven't yet released any information.

Family members tell News 4 that a Nancy Mertz was killed when her oxygen tank exploded inside the home.

A family member tells News 4, Nancy Mertz was home with her husband and two grandchildren at the time.

Her grandchildren and husband are said to have made it out safely.

"The boys actually tried saving her, her grandkids," said a family member. "She was on fire and the boys tried to throw water on her, to save her. They got burned a little bit."

"I'm happy her grandkids made it out alive, she loved them more than anything. She really did."

Kenilworth Fire Company Chief Thomas Yager said, "It's pretty extensive damage in there. There was a collapse on the second floor of the structure. Obviously a this point its unoccupiable."

Information regarding Nancy Mertz is coming from family members, at this point officials have not confirmed any of the information.


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This is such a sad story. I cannot imagine what those grandkids are going through. I cannot imagine seeing a loved one engulfed in flames, and myself feeling helpless to help them. They tried, and I hope that they know that they did their best.

As for the video - the woman didn't seem "shocked" at all, she seemed fine.
Sad story, I hope those kids are getting lots of help and attention right now and watched closely. Must have been a DEVASTATING thing to have to see, I feel for them.

That fire chief, how old is he??? Looks like he is 23???

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