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Neighbors recall trying to save woman killed in house fire


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    HERMITAGE, Tennessee (WSMV) — Before firefighters got to a house fire on Netherlands Drive in Hermitage on Wednesday, neighbors heard a noise outside followed by another.

“This time, we heard help, help,” Janet Powell, a neighbor said.

News4 spoke with Janet and Tommy Powell, who live next door. Janet called 911 while Tommy tried to break down the front door.

“Just hoping that Deborah had got out of the chair and made it somewhere in the house where I could kind of get her out,” Tommy Powell, a neighbor, said.

Metro police identified 67-year-old Deborah Schneider as the woman who died in the Wednesday night fire. A pet also died.

The Powells said her husband, Larry, made it out covered in soot and is still in the hospital.

To them, the Schneiders were more than neighbors.

“Our friends. We had gotten close,” Powell said.

They knew the Schneiders for three years. The Powells said Larry was Deborah’s caretaker.

“It’s just it’s hard. It’s hard because they were so nice,” Powell said.

The Nashville Fire Department said crews had a tough time clearing a path inside the house. At one point, they had to be pulled out.

The Metro Police Department has identified the woman killed in Wednesday night’s house fire in Hermitage.

“There was reported to be lots of items inside, which adds to the fireload of that home, which means that there’s constantly fuel added to that fire because of the items that are inside of the home,” Kendra Loney with the Nashville Fire Department said.

Neighbors and those on social media are trying to help the man who survived. It’s making Powell proud her community is coming together in the face of tragedy.

“Sort of makes you believe in humanity again,” Powell said.

Many are wondering what started the fire, but that’s still being looked at by investigators.

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