JACKSONVILLE, Fla., – A 51-year-old woman was killed in a house fire early Sunday morning, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Officers and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded at 1:13 a.m. to a house fire on North Diamond Leaf Court near the Jacksonville Heights area of the Westside. When firefighters entered the home, they found a woman near the front of the house.
The woman, who was identified by police as Clementine Geneva Bowles, was taken to Orange Park Medical, where she died.
Officers said she was the only person inside the home at the time of the blaze.
Christopher Methvin, who lives next door, said he saw the flames break out, and he and his friends tried to help before first responders arrived.
"They grabbed a hose and started to try to put the fire out. I was going to the side of the house, banging on windows and stuff because the front door was really hot and couldn’t get it opened," Methvin said.
Methvin then made his way to the back of the home.
“I started kicking the door and I finally got it opened," he said. "When I got into the back of the living room -- it was pitch black, smoke everywhere. I couldn’t even walk a couple feet into the house."
Methvin, who describe Bowles as a sweet neighbor, explained to News4Jax why he decided to go into her home.
"I didn't know if there was someone in there or not and I know these people," he said. "If I were in the house, I would want someone to come for me."
Dr. Charles Franson, who lives in the other home next door to Bowles, also saw the fire.
"I heard some pops and an explosion going on and my lights started flickering inside my house," Franson said. "I saw flames shooting to the roof of the house and I told my wife to call 911."
He said he usually saw three people living in the home -- a young daughter, husband and wife -- and said that there were really good neighbors.
"We shared a lot of things together. They would cookout, and when we were in need of anything, we would always ask one another," Franson said.
According to the state fire marshal's office, the cause of the fire is believed to be accidental. The state fire marshal's office said the first started in the kitchen the rose to the roof, causing extensive damage.
The Sheriff's Office said Monday the case is being investigated as an accidental death and no foul play is suspected.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Bowles' family with funeral expenses.