A man and his wife died after their house caught fire in Pasadena.
The fire broke out shortly after 5 a.m. at a home in the 1200 block of Monroe and Pasadena Boulevard. Fire officials said heavy smoke was pouring from the house when they arrived on the scene.
Charles Lewis, 68, and his wife, Phyllis, 67, were inside. The wife was on the phone with a dispatcher when the phone line went dead. Officials said the phone line wires probably melted while she was on the call.
"We understand the call was dropped. It appears it was dropped due to the fact that the phone line was compromised by the fire," Fire Marshal David Brannon said.
Charles Lewis died at the scene. Phyllis was taken to Bayshore Hospital, where she died a short time later.
Fire officials said an oxygen tank in the bedroom may have sparked the blaze since the fire started in the bedroom. Both victims smoked, which also may have played a role in the cause. Investigators do not suspect foul play.
"We just saw smoke come up, and I thought they were out. But they were not out because (firefighters) were trying to get in," witness Denis Martinez said.
"She always smoked and that's why she had breathing difficulties. I understand she's the one who called it in this morning, but I was sad. I was down there when they pulled them out," neighbor Tim Williams said.
One firefighter was treated for minor back injuries suffered during the fire.
The fire marshal said it will take a few days to determine the exact cause of the fire.