AN ELDERLY woman has become the third local in as many months to be killed in a house fire, after a deadly blaze erupted in her lounge room yesterday afternoon.
Fire crews tried everything to save the woman but were forced back by the ferocity of the flames.
The 82-year-old woman was found deceased in the hallway.
Neighbours first noticed smoke billowing from the Warialda Rd home just before 1pm and frantically called triple zero for help.
Fire and Rescue NSW said they received numerous calls about the fire with some residents reporting that smoke could be seen from across town.
Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Rod Chetwynd said the home was well alight by the time crews arrived.
“The station officer said it was safe enough at the time to mount a search inside,” Inspector Chetwynd said.
“Whilst firefighters prepared to enter, a neighbour confirmed that there was possibly an elderly woman inside.”
But the intensity of the blaze hampered operations.
Inspector Chetwynd said crews went into the home from the front and a side door in attempt to attack the blaze.
“Firefighters faced extremely tough conditions with very heavy smoke and intense flames,” he said.
“They were fought back by the flames several times but made several valiant attempts to get to the elderly woman.
“Unfortunately due to the flames and heat, it was too much for them and by the time they extinguished the flames, they found the woman deceased in the hallway.”
The plumes of smoke sent residents into the street to find out what was happening.
Cody Hulzhauser, a nearby neighbour, said the smoke was very intense.
“I just live up the street and the smoke was just really thick,” he said.
“You couldn’t see anything, really.”
Another neighbour, Adam Smith, noticed the fire shortly after it ignited.
“I heard the ambulance and then they were trying to bang the door in,” Mr Smith said.
Inverell police Inspector Rowan O’Brien said officers rushed to the scene to help.
“Fire and Rescue NSW were able to extinguish the fire and prevented it from spreading to neighbouring premises,” Inspector Rowan O’Brien said.
“But sadly, upon entering the premises, what’s believed to be the body of the elderly female resident was discovered.”
Police forensics as well as fire investigation officers spent much of the afternoon combing the scene.
Inspector O’Brien said the blaze wasn’t suspicious.
“Inverell detectives will take carriage of the matter and prepare a brief for the coroner,” he said.
Last night authorities confirmed the fire was an accident that started in the lounge room.
Investigations are ongoing.