The 67-year-old woman called a 911 dispatcher who helped calm her as first-responders raced to the scene, but neighbors got to her first. They brought a ladder, and she was able to climb down to safety just before sheriff's deputies and firefighters arrived.
The blaze broke out about 10:40 a.m. Tuesday in the 32900 block of Bluffside Drive, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.
On a 911 tape released today, the panicky woman can be heard describing her perilous situation.
"My house is going fast," she told a dispatcher. "I can't get down."
Later, the woman told the dispatcher, "My hair is fried," and he advised her how she could protect herself until firefighters arrived.
"I want you to get as far away from the door as you can," he said. "I want you to get down and use the wall for protection."
The woman tried to follow the dispatcher's direction, saying, "It's burning like crazy."
Then a neighbor can be heard on the line telling the dispatcher that he had a ladder and the woman was climbing to safety.
"Just sit down and try to relax," the dispatcher tolds the woman when she was safe from the flames.
When the resident expressed worry about her cat's safety, the dispatcher told her, "Don't worry about the cat. The cat will find its way out."
The woman, whose name was not released, suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns to her face, Concialdi said.
Firefighters had the flames under control just before 11 a.m. The blaze caused $250,000 damage to the structure and $150,000 damage to contents, Concialdi said, noting that it started in a bedroom and appears to be accidental. The exact cause remains under investigation, the captain said.
--City News Service