IVINS, Utah – A southern Utah family is heartbroken after losing their elderly mother in a house fire on Christmas Eve. Now they're focusing on the daughter who tried to rescue her, as she recovers from her injuries.
Relatives of 86-year-old Zenetta Hunt spent Christmas Eve at her bedside singing Christmas carols. Hours after everyone left, a fire broke out in the Ivins home she shared with her daughter, Evon Hunt. Hunt’s sister, Sara Boatright, spoke to Fox 13 News about her that tragic night.
“The flames were ridiculous, out of control," Boatright said.
Investigators said the fire started inside a wall in Zenetta's bedroom and quickly spread.
“The wire was stapled too tight,” said Boatright, “With the expanding and contracting over the 15 years the house has been there, it has worn that wire down.”
Evon tried to grab a fire extinguisher. It wouldn’t come out so she rushed to her bedridden mother's aid.
“She said my mom couldn't hold on to her neck and so she grabbed her under her arm and then started to drag her out of the room,” said Boatright.
Evon couldn't get her mother out of the room and became trapped herself.
She called out for help. A neighbor who was outside the home, heard her pleas.
By then, her mother stopped breathing. The neighbor convinced Evon it was too late and they needed to get out.
“She would have died if she went back in,” said Boatright.
Boatright said losing her mother has been tough but the long-time Ivins resident and mother of 13 leaves behind a beautiful legacy.
“She was the most kind, selfless, Christ-like person you'd ever want to know,” said Boatright.
Now the family is taking care of Evon. She suffered smoke inhalation, and doctors say she may have permanent lung damage. She can't talk very well yet, but was released from the hospital last week.
“At first she did not have a will to live. She wanted to be there with her mom simply because she felt like she failed her and failed us. That she didn't do enough,” said Boatright.
Boatright said her sister lost everything. She has no insurance to cover medical expenses. Family, friends and the community are reaching out. In fact, a stranger gave them $1000 in cash.
“It's been amazing to me how many cards, how many letters and money and kind words that have been sent," said Boatright.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Evon’s medical expenses, click here.