PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Crews have recovered the body of an elderly woman who died in a fire Wednesday afternoon in the Hill District.

Thelma Witherspoon, 95, was unable to escape when her home in the 800-block of Shawnee Street went up in flames.

Those who knew Witherspoon feared the worst as firefighters battled the blaze.

Witherspoon lived in the home right next to her 91-year-old sister, Katie Johnson’s home.

Johnson, who is okay, told firefighters that she had spoken with her sister this morning around 11:30 a.m. before running errands.

“The second sister said she left her there this morning and went shopping,” said Chief Darryl Jones, of the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau.

Investigators say flames erupted right before 1 p.m.

The blaze, engulfing the home, caused the second floor to collapse.

“She said she did have some trouble moving around,” said Chief Jones. “She said she had bad knees.”

It’s an incredibly painful thing for those who loved her and cared for her to watch.

“At 95, she had the will to live, she was a survivor,” said Rose Whittle, Witherspoon’s caretaker. “I know she’s with the Lord.”

There’s no word on what sparked the fire.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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