NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway into the cause of a fire that ripped through a New Bedford home Wednesday night.

Firefighters rushed to the Hemlock Street home for reports of heavy flames and smoke pouring from the second floor, according to New Bedford Deputy Fire Chief Brian Medeiros.

Medeiros said an older woman lived in the home for several years before passing away a few days ago and the building has been vacant ever since.

The deputy fire chief said fighting the fire was made difficult due to “boxes and items” blocking the stairwell.

The flames caused part of the roof to collapse, according to Medeiros. The home also sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.