Miami Fire Rescue responded quickly to a house fire on Northwest 51st Street in Miami Tuesday, but couldn't save 65-year-old Monica Joachim.
The grandmother of 30 stood at the front door and screamed for help. Neighbors and a police officer responded to 1544 NW 51st St. before fire rescue arrived. They found Joachim locked in the house by security bars covering all doors and windows.
"The flames were coming out and they were trying to get inside the house to get her out," neighbor Ezekiel Wallace said. "Where they had the bars and stuff, they couldn't get in there."
Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Ignatius Carroll said that in a panic, Joachim couldn't find the key.
"She was at the front door the whole time this thing unfolded until the time she passed away," he said.
Lewis Hill, who lives across the street, said he ran to help when he spotted smoke and flames coming from the home.
"I shook the door," said Hill, who was also stopped by the iron bars. "I couldn't get through, it was too hot."
Hill said he ran to the back of the house, hoping to break open an escape route for his imprisoned neighbor.
"I kept hollering, 'come to the back, come to the back!'" he said. "I never did hear her no more."
Initial reports to 911 suggested Joachim was babysitting an infant. Firefighters did five sweeps of the home and found nothing.
"Me myself, I'm just trying to hang in there and trying to hold out, I know I'm about to crack the way I'm feeling right now," son Archie Young said. "I'm holding it but I got to be strong, I'm trying bad."
Joachim's brother said there problems with the breaker board in the home in the past.
Fire investigators are trying to figure out how it started.