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Woman, 78, dies in Progress Village fire

TAMPA — Caroline Crenshaw often sat on her front porch. She didn't say much and kept to herself, but smiled when someone spoke to her.

That's how neighbors remember Crenshaw, 78, who died early Wednesday after a fire broke out in her home in the Progress Village neighborhood.

Crenshaw was treated at the scene and taken to Brandon Hospital, where she died, said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Gertrude Snyder, who lives across the street, said Crenshaw was a nice and friendly neighbor.

She had lost most of her vision and lived alone. Snyder would sometimes give her rides to the grocery store, and they would talk about television shows they liked.

Sometimes Crenshaw would call Snyder simply to say, "Thank you for being such a good neighbor."

"I'll miss her," Snyder said.

Neighbors said Crenshaw hardly had visitors, except for people from her church who cut her grass and ran errands.

Emergency crews responded to Crenshaw's home at 5211 80th St. S, near Ash Avenue, about 1:08 a.m. The fire was out within 20 minutes.

Andrea Clemons, a neighbor, said she called 911 when she saw a flame inside Crenshaw's house through a front window.

Light smoke was coming from the home when the first fire units arrived, officials said. Firefighters went into a rear bedroom, where the flames were quickly extinguished, and Crenshaw was removed.

Before help arrived, Clemons banged on the front door but heard nothing, she said.

"May she rest in peace," she said.

Times staff writer Danny Valentine contributed to this report. Nandini Jayakrishna can be reached at (813) 661-2441 or

Woman, 78, dies in Progress Village fire 09/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 10:19pm]
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