ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The blaze was put out quickly but not fast enough to save the life of the homeowner and her pet.
"She's just a few houses down. I didn't really know her," said Justin Henry, a neighbor.
The reactions of neighbors on Beverly Street were all too similar. Many say they didn't really know the victim, Terrie S. Kersch, 53. Some even going as far as calling her secluded.
"I believe she lived there by herself," said Henry.
Other neighbors referred to Kersch as a nice woman, who would open a lemonade stand in the summer for the kids. They're shocked that something like this happened on their street.
"It puts you in perspective of how precious life is. You don't know what time you're gonna pass away. Its kind of eye opening," said Henry.
Fire crews were called out to the house around 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning after getting reports from neighbors who saw the blaze.
"After a search, they did find a sole occupant of the structure. She was transported to Medical Center Hospital, where she was pronounced dead," said Andrea Goodson, Odessa city spokeswoman.
Also inside the home was Kersch's pet rat, who died in the blaze.
Officials have not determined if the home had working smoke detectors but warn everyone to change the batteries frequently to protect themselves.
"A smoke detector can save lives. So this is a good reminder to help protect yourself, help protect your loved ones and make sure you have a working smoke detector," said Goodson.
Investigators say it will take some time to find the cause of the fire. They will be interviewing neighbors and the firefighters who responded to the scene.