FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The family of a Fort Wayne woman who died while clutching her four-year-old great grandson is calling her a hero.
According to the Allen County Coroner’s office 73-year-old Isabel E. Atencio was killed when a mobile home rolled during the height of Monday night’s storm. An autopsy found she died of blunt force injuries and her death was ruled accidental.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Selena Montoya, Atencio’s granddaughter. “Looking at that mess you would think neither one of them would have made it. But Chase did.”
Around 7:45 p.m., emergency crews responded to the 4300 block of Brimstone Road. That’s near the intersection of East Dupont and Diebold Roads. 911 callers reported people were possibly trapped inside.
“Her neighbor who called 911 drove up to my house and got me,” said Kaylee Shaw, who is also Atencio’s granddaughter. “I ran down here because I knew my son was in there.”
When crews arrived, they found the badly damaged mobile home and a serious gas leak. Firefighters addressed the leak and made the area safe from exposed power lines, so they could attempt to reach the occupants.
Within ten minutes of their arrival, firefighters found a woman clutching a child, both under more debris. Four minutes later, they freed the young boy, who was conscious and in good condition. Two minutes after that, they freed the woman – unconscious and in critical condition. Medics took her to a hospital, where doctors later pronounced her dead.
Shaw said her son walked away with just minor scrapes and bruises.
“I am forever grateful and thankful,” she said. “How am I going to repay that? He already asked if we could fix her house and get her a new one. And I’m like no bud, I think she has a better house where she’s at.”
Through this tragedy the family is leaning on each other for support and finding comfort in the idea that their hero is in a better place.
“She always promised that she would protect us and keep us safe and she sure did last night,” said Montoya.
One person was inside the neighboring mobile home that was struck by the one that rolled. He was able to escape uninjured, by climbing out a window. The family also told WANE 15 that Atencio had two dogs and both of them made it out alive.
The Fort Wayne Fire Department was assisted by Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, NIPSCO and Indiana Michigan Power.