North Fork woman dies inside burning home, neighbors tried to save her

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A single candle is left flickering where a North Fork woman lost her life on Saturday morning.

"She didn't make it out, it sucks," said neighbor, Charles Bowley.

Flames tore through her home, burning everything to the ground. Ash and burnt metal are all that remain where the home once stood.

Charles Bowley saw it all happen.

"It was hot. It was hot where I was standing, a good 100 feet away and then the power lines started exploding," he said.

He and his brother heard her yelling for help. They rushed over, broke out one of her windows, and called for her.

"I told her, we don't have that much time, so we broke the back windows out and tried to reach for her. She kept telling us no," Bowley said.

Bowley tried to reach out for her, but the smoke was too thick, and the heat was intense. In the blink of an eye, the house went up in flames.

"All of a sudden we felt a heatwave and flames came out the window and we had to leave," he said.

As embers rained down on the neighbored, everyone on the block was forced to evacuate.

"Getting the folks out from the surrounding houses and the streets around that fire is important to keep them safe," said CAL FIRE Battalion Chief John Morgan.

Although Bowley can't tell for sure what caused the fire, he has a theory.

"She had a wood stove in there. The fire department is telling me the door was cracked and maybe the embers blew out onto the carpet," he said.

Firefighters said the home where the victim lived is a complete loss; the other homes received minor damage.

CAL FIRE is handling the fire investigation. Meanwhile, the Madera County Sheriffs Department is handling the death investigation.
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