CONCORD (CBS SF) – A person found dead Tuesday morning in a two-alarm fire at a Concord home appeared to be trying to escape, a Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman said.
The victim was found in a hallway outside several rooms of the home in the 1400 block of Coventry Road, Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.
Firefighters haven’t identified the person who died in the fire, but neighbors told KPIX 5 an elderly woman named Ethel lived there alone.
“She just kept to herself,” said neighbor Lisa Otto. “Very sweet when we talked to her, but very much kept to herself.”
Neighbors called 911 when they saw the fire at about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday morning. Area resident Gelberto Nanez filmed the towering flames from across the street.
“[It] passed to the power lines, 20 feet or 40 feet up. It was crazy. Unbelievable,” said Nanez.
During the fire, the roof collapsed but that’s not likely why the person died in the fire, according to Marshall.
Usually the fire burns for a while before the roof collapses, Marshall said.
Firefighters think the fire had been burning long before they were called.
“This was something that was probably growing for a while and then finally got to the point where somebody outside could see what was going on,” said Marshall.
And now those neighbors are facing a stark new view where Ethel’s home once stood.
“It’ll be a sad reminder. This poor woman,” said Otto.
The fire was under control as of shortly before 7:30 a.m. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
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