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Neighbor describes chaotic scene of fire that killed elderly couple

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 05 2013 08:16:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 05 2013 10:51:38 PM CDT
WILLOWS, Calif. -

An elderly couple lost their lives after a fire broke out in their Willows home late Thursday night.

Firefighters did everything they could to save the two but their efforts failed.

The Sheriff's office identified the victims as 77-year-old Luis Ceja and his 77-year-old wife Rafaela Bustos.

“Well I was in my room and I heard a loud pop and i thought it was strange.  So I got up and saw the red flames and they lit up my whole bedroom,” said Lisette Rosales who called 911.

“They came out and dragged him out here to get him out of the fire,” said Rosales.

Investigators say Bustos was trying to save his wife who was stuck in the bathroom.

“The fire department went inside with the right equipment and they found the female in the bathroom of the residence and brought her outside but unfortunately she passed away,” said Willows Police Chief, Jason Dahl.

It’s believed the effort to save Bustos may have ultimately contributed to his death.

“He was just all burnt and bleeding.  The fireman said he had third degree burns,” said Rosales.

Ceja was taken to UC Davis Medical Center and was pronounced dead around 10:45 this morning.  Rosales and her family moved next door three years ago.

“They were the first people to come over and welcome us,” said Rosales.

Rosales explains this couple was so warm and inviting, that Bustos became a role model for her.

“She was a really nice person and she would have been a great grandma if she was my grandma,” said Rosales.

Investigators believe this fire was either accidental or electrical and it happened inside the kitchen.  Autopsies will be done on Monday.