COWANSHANNOCK (KDKA) – One woman was killed in an early Friday morning fire in Armstrong County.

According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out at a home along State Route 1042 in Cowanshannock Township around 3:45 a.m.

“It’s kind of a helpless feeling when you know they’re trapped in there and it’s such an intense fire that you can’t get into it and right off the bat, you know that it’s probably too late already,” Rural Valley Fire Department Assitant Chief Bill Rupert said.

The call for help came after neighbors were awakened by the sound of the fire.

“Quarter to four and we heard a crackling, so we assumed maybe fireworks going off. So, we woke up and all we could see was orange coming through the blinds,” Tiffany Heffelfinger said.

Four people were inside when the fire started. Three of the people inside escaped by jumping from the second floor.

However, one woman was unable to make it out.

According to the coroner, the victim has been identified as 45-year-old Regina Pearce. The cause of death was ruled to be smoke inhalation and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

“You want to help them, but you don’t really want to know what to do when it’s that bad. So, there wasn’t much we really could do. We didn’t want to get close to it in case it caved in, so we just kept our distance to make sure that everybody was okay until the fire department got here,” Heffelfinger said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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