KANNAPOLIS, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A devastating fire claimed the life of a 69-year-old woman on Wednesday, according to Kannapolis Fire officials.
"I heard the ambulance come up and then the fire truck come up and then a loud explosion. It actually shook the floor. I came out and there were about eight or nine fire trucks and ambulances down here," Joe Earnhardt said.
Joe and his wife Debbie heard the explosion of an oxygen tank inside their neighbor's home.
A family member of the victim told FOX 46 off camera that 69-year-old Patricia Ann Hyatt had several oxygen tanks inside her bedroom. He says she also used a kerosene heater to keep her room warm.
"I’ll certainly remember them in my prayers," Debbie said.
The family didn't want to speak on camera, but did say they're grateful for all the help they've received.
"There was a pastor who came and got sizes of some of the family members and has already gone and brought back clothing. Other families have brought food and snacks by," Angie Power said.
Power is a member of the First Evangelical Methodist Church located right next door to the house that went up in flames early Wednesday morning.
"My husband got a phone call from our daycare director letting us know the house was on fire. He came by and opened up the church very early. It was like a place for the family to gather and everyone who needed to use the restroom,” said Power.
She says the Red Cross is helping the family with a couple of nights stay at a nearby hotel, but after that, she says they'll still need help to start over.
"Like things we don't think about. They don't have car keys to move their cars, and all their bank cards and cash. They literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs."