Couple married for more than 50 years dies in Mulberry house fire

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A couple married for more than 50 years is dead after an early morning fire erupted at their Willis Road home in Mulberry.

The Polk County Fire Rescue Department responded to the home of Carl, 86, and Denise Caldwell, 80, around midnight.

Firefighters broke through a window to get to the couple and pulled them from the home and began treatment.

“Crews faced zero visibility and extreme heat due to the intensification of the fire,” the agency said in a press release.

The Caldwells were rushed to a local hospital, where they died from their injuries.

“Just very nice people. Just silent Americans. Just real nice. The nicest people you could meet. It’s a shame it happened,” said friend Jimmy Crotts.

A neighbor, Jeff O’Donnell, tells News Channel 8 heard popping sounds around midnight, then noticed fire trucks show up.

“It’s sudden anytime there’s a loss of life. Something like that happens makes your wonder about their own mortality,” O’Donnell said.

The State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire, and a medical examiner will determine their exact causes of death.

Authorities said the incident does not appear to be suspicious in nature.

“At this early stage, and I put that in quotes, at this early stage it does not appear to be anything other than maybe an electrical or normal house mishap,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

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