An Indiana woman has died after she was found clutching her great-grandson, 4, inside a debris-filled mobile home struck by Monday’s storm, in what family members are calling a heroic act, according to a report.
Isabel E. Atencio, 73, from Fort Wayne, was killed when her home rolled onto its side during the powerful storm that produced 100 mph winds as it swept across the Midwest, leaving her and the child trapped inside, officials said.
“Her neighbor who called 911 drove up to my house and got me,” Kaylee Shaw, Atencio’s granddaughter told Fort Wayne’s WANE-TV. “I ran down here because I knew my son was in there.”
A photo from Tuesday morning showed the debris-filled wreckage of the mobile home, which crashed into another home after rolling.
Emergency crews responded to the area around 7:45 p.m. on Monday and discovered the home badly damaged and identified a gas leak. After addressing the leak and making sure the area was safe, they entered the home and found Atencio clutching a child. They were both under debris.
The boy was freed and was in good condition. Atencio, who was unconscious, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition. She was later pronounced dead.
“She always promised that she would protect us and keep us safe and she sure did last night,” Selena Montoya, who is also Atencio’s granddaughter, told the station.
An autopsy determined Atencio died of blunt-force injuries and her death was ruled accidental, according to the Allen County Coroner’s office.
“I am forever grateful and thankful,” Shaw 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.”