Video shows woman searching for help as Deerfield Beach home burns

Woman runs back into home in attempt to rescue cats

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A woman is recovering in a hospital after her Deerfield Beach home was destroyed in a fire early Sunday.

A next-door neighbor's doorbell camera caught video of the flames lighting up the nighttime sky as fire consumed the one-story house.

The camera also caught the frantic homeowner knocking on the door for help. Barbara Cisco was injured, but she was well enough to call out as her home burned out of control.

"Please open up!" Cisco can be heard crying out. "It's a fire!"

It took about a minute for Lu Vencl to wake up and realize his neighbor was in trouble. He said he called 911 and tried to calm her down.

"She was in shock," he said. "She was all full of black soot. Her hair had caught on fire. She had some burns."

Cisco, who lived alone and is known as a friendly neighbor, would rescue neighborhood strays and was concerned about her pets.

As many as nine cats were left behind in the burning house, so she made a dangerous decision.

"She apparently went back inside the house to try to save the animals and that, unfortunately, was not really the right choice," Vencl said.

Because of her choice, Cisco's injuries ended up more severe. She is now in critical condition in the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

One cat that was rescued from the home was given oxygen and warm blankets. Out of nine cats, two were discovered dead and the other six are missing.

The home has been deemed uninhabitable. The house and most of its contents are considered a total loss because of the fire, smoke and water that was used to douse the flames.

Investigators said they believe the fire was sparked in a front room of the home.

"Very blessed there was no wind this morning, because if there had been an easterly wind, for example, it could have caught my house on fire," Vencl said.

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