An 87-year-old woman lost her husband of more than 50 years late Saturday when he died after a fire broke out in their small Bay Street home from an electrical malfunction near the air conditioning unit.

Baton Rouge firefighters responded the home at 1522 Bay St., at about 8:06 p.m., after a neighbor called 911, department spokesman Mark Miles said.

When firefighters arrived, Miles said, they found neighbors gathered on the porch, pounding on the front door, telling firefighters “that people were in the house.”

Firefighters grabbed both Helen Paxton who had been watching TV in her living room and her husband, Steve Paxton, 90, who was in a back bedroom but had fallen down in a rear hallway once the fire broke out, the couple’s son David Paxton said.

Firefighters performed life-saving measures on the couple, but were unable to revive his father, David Paxton said. Helen Paxton was transported to a nearby hospital and is expected to survive.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” David Paxton said.

The couple has lived in that home on Bay Street between North 15th and North 16th streets for more than 50 years and neighbors said they mostly kept to themselves.

Helen Paxton noticed smoke accumulating in the home shortly before 8 p.m. and called her son at his home in Denham Springs.

David Paxton said he then alerted a neighbor to go and check on them. The neighbor saw the smoke and called 911.

Miles said the house appears to have sustained little damage.

“Firefighters responding did an awesome job of trying to rescue the couple from the home,” Miles said.