NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A 28-year-old woman dies in a Central City fire, making her the eighth person to die in a home without working smoke alarms since November 2014. The fire took place in the 2400 block of South Saratoga Saturday morning.
Family members say 28-year-old Erica Moten, a domestic violence counselor, devoted her life to others.
"She liked helping people and like I said, she was a good person, we're really going to miss her a lot," said Moten's sister, Priscilla Manning.
At 9:30, firefighters showed up to find flames and thick smoke billowing from the shotgun double.
Neighbor Evenia Isaic says, "I saw the smoke, the smoke was black, black, black."
"They were upstairs so by the time they woke up to get downstairs, it was engulfed in flames so they weren't able to get out," said Moten's brother-in-law, Kevin Marcel.
Fire investigators say a man, identified by family as Erica's boyfriend, jumped from a second story window. But Erica, was too afraid and was found unconscious by firefighters. She died of smoke inhalation.
"Oh yeah, it's sad, because she was my friend you know," Isaic said.
Marcel adds, "She had her little dog, her little dog perished with her. He would not leave her side."
Moten's seven-year-old niece was downstairs on the other side of the double, and able to make it out safely. A total of 20 units with 52 firefighters, responded to the scene and it took an hour to put out the flames.
Moten's family says they don't know what could've caused the fire and can't believe the woman who tried so hard to save others was taken so soon. Kevin Marcel hopes this tragedy serves as a lesson to others saying, "That's what we need more of in this world, a lot of families to realize, it can happen in a split second, and while you have time to say I love you to a loved one, let them know right then and there."
The New Orleans Fire Department hopes people take away from this, the importance of having working smoke alarms.
Investigators haven't yet released an official cause of the fire, nor the condition of Moten's boyfriend whose being treated at a hospital.