Woman killed in Fresno apartment fire had undergone back surgeries

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's hard for Rita Hixson of Fresno to come to terms with the loss of her mother.

"My head is about to explode because I am thinking of it so badly and so deeply of how this happened," she says.

On Saturday afternoon, her mom, 64-year-old Rosie Hixson, died in an east central Fresno apartment fire.

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"We had our ups and our downs, but we got through it, we were each other's backbone," says Rita.

She lost her brother four months ago and now with the death of her mother, she's lost nearly everyone.

The fire broke out at the Peachwood Apartments at Olive and Peach Avenues.

According to authorities, it ignited in Rosie's second-floor apartment.

A police officer and neighbors tried to make their way up to help her, but the smoke was too thick.

According to tenants, the woman was crying for help.

Rita says her mother had mobility issues after having several back surgeries, making it difficult to escape. She also had mental illness.

She just turned 64 years old earlier in the week.

Rita says she's forever grateful for those who tried to help her mom.

Investigators at the Fire Department are still trying to determine what caused the fire, although they do say there were smoke detectors in the apartment. Meanwhile, 20 people from five families have been displaced.
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