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Elderly couple killed in Mulberry house fire

Mulberry house fire
Posted at 4:26 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 17:24:13-05

MULBERRY, Fla. — Polk County firefighters say an elderly couple pulled from a late night fire in Mulberry died from the significant injuries they received.

Just before midnight, dispatchers received a call from a neighbor of a brush fire in the 3900 road of Willis Road in Mulberry. A second caller reported a house on fire.

The first firefighters with Polk County Fire Rescue on scene found heavy smoke coming from a single-story brick house. Flames were coming from the rear of the home.

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Neighbors told firefighters the elderly couple, 86-year-old Carl Caldwell and his wife 80-year-old Denise Caldwell lived in the home.

“They broke the two in two out rule, made entry, and found two adults inside the home," said Chris Jonckheer with Polk County Fire Rescue. "Extricated them outside of the home, began treatment, and we transported them to a local hospital.”

Paramedics transported the couple to Bartow Regional Medical Center where officials say they later died. The Medical Examiner will determine their exact causes of death.

The house sustained extensive damage and is likely a total loss.

"They kind of kept to themselves mostly, like most people around this area do. Jeff O'Donnell, a long-time neighbor told ABC Action News. Adding "It’s sad anytime there is a loss of life," saying the couple had lived in their Mulberry home for well over 40 years.

Firefighters believe the fire began in the rear of the home.

The State Fire Marshal will investigate how the fire started but early indications appear that the fire is not suspicious in nature. The sheriff's office will investigate the deaths.