Wife killed, husband injured in southeast Houston house fire


HOUSTON – A house fire claimed the life of a 74-year-old woman and critically injured her husband Monday night. The fire damaged the house on Teton near Calhoun on Houston's south side.

Firefighters said flames consumed the home by the time they arrived and began to search for Malcolm and Helen Mitchell, who live in the house. The fire became so intense, one firefighter became separated from his crew and a "mayday" was called.

Fortunately, that firefighter made it out of the house unharmed. Sr. Captain Ruy Lozano said a man, who stopped to run into the house and dragged Malcolm Mitchell out, suffered severe burns to his face and head. Both he and Malcolm Mitchell were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

Helen Mitchell, 74, died in the fire. 

"My mother was a very hard worker," said Michael Mitchell, the victims' son.

Michael and Mark Mitchell, two of the Mitchell's three children, spoke to KPRC2 about their mother.

"[Mom] loved, loved life. She loved her grandkids. She loved her husband. Beautiful woman," Michael Mitchell said.

A 19-year-old man who tried to save the couple was treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation and released.

Several residents tried to save the couple by forcing their way in through a garage door as firefighters arrived.

"We all kicked the garage door in and when I got in the garage, I knocked the door in that goes into the house. When I knocked that in, smoke hit me in the face, took my breath. I backed up," said Chet Kuykendall.

Arson investigators have not yet determined what started the fire.

The Mitchell's children are thankful for the neighbors who rushed to help their parents, including the man who is being credited with saving their father's life.

Still, they're forced to live without their mother.

"She was looking forward to going to California. My son is getting married. That was the joy of her heart. She was looking forward to it," Mark Mitchell said.