ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after a deadly house fire in Attleboro early Friday morning.
Crews responded to the Division Street home just before 1 a.m. Neighbors said it wasn’t long before the flames fully engulfed the home.
“We ran over to see if there was anything we could do, and another neighbor was calling out for the person who lives there,” one neighbor told 12 News. “I did try to bang on the door, but I didn’t hear anything.”
Police said 80-year-old Judith Henriques was killed in the fire.
The flames were so big that neighbors who live a street over said they could see them.
“I stood at my bedroom window seeing these flames and wondering, ‘Is it one house? Is it multiple houses? Who’s in danger?'” Stasia Peters recalled.
(Story continues below video.)
The fire tore through the home, leaving a hole in the middle of the roof. The vinyl siding of a neighboring home was also damaged by the heat.
“It’s heart-rendering for me to just try to imagine what her family is thinking,” Peters added. “Life changes so quickly. I woke up very grateful for what I do have. It puts things in perspective, for sure.”
Family of Henriques did not want to speak on camera, but told 12 News although Henriques was a senior, she was very active and lively. She was was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Henriques was also the mother-in-law of an Attleboro firefighter. The firefighter told a 12 News crew he had just stopped at the home Thursday night to bring Henriques dinner.
Family told 12 News they have no idea how the fire started. The origin and cause remain under investigation the Attleboro Fire Department, Attleboro Police Department, and State Police assigned to the offices of the State Fire Marshal and Bristol District Attorney.
“I want to express our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family and loved ones,” Attleboro Fire Chief LaChance said in a statement. “This is a terrible tragedy for them and the community.”
Richard Varrieur stopped by the scene on Friday morning. He, along with former owner Donald Wrightington, both help to construct the home in the 1960s.
“Last time I saw it, it was a house, and now it’s… it’s in this shape here. It’s heartbreaking,” Wrightington said.
“You can always rebuild a house, but you cant rebuild the life of the woman that died,” Varrieur told 12 News.