1 person dead in Independence house fire

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- One person has died following a house fire Monday afternoon in Independence.

Fire crews responded to the fire just after 1:30 p.m. on E. South Ave. When crews arrived they could see smoke and fire coming from the structure.

The fire was under control just before 2 p.m.

A woman was found unresponsive inside. Officials said despite life saving efforts, the woman did not make it. She has not yet been identified.

Neighbors tell FOX4 they saw a ton of smoke around 1:50 p.m.

"I looked out my back door and I didn't see anything, so I came to look out the front door and check my mail," neighbor Ramona Polley said. "And there were like five fire trucks, and three cop cars, and the ambulances came, and I saw the smoke, and I saw the door open, the dog run out, then I saw the firefighters up on the roof cutting a hole."

Assistant Fire Chief Michael Ditamore said the state fire marshall is now investigating.

"Any time that there is a fatality in the state of Missouri, the state fire marshall will send an investigator out to conduct an investigation," Ditamore said.

Investigators believe the fire started in the front living room but can't explain yet why the woman wasn't able to escape the flames.

Ditamore said they are unsure if there were smoke alarms inside the home yet because much of the roof has collapsed.

No firefighters were injured during the incident.

Ditamore said while they don't know if it was a factor, he said this time of year they get a spike in calls because so many people are using chimneys and heaters. He asks that people be extra careful when using them.