Firefighters discovered the body of an elderly Baton Rouge woman after they extinguished a Friday morning house fire in a neighborhood just west of the Comite River, the Baton Rouge Fire Department reported.
Neighbors said the victim was 67-year-old Virginia Murray, who had lived in the home at 2023 Park Drive for more than four decades.
Firefighters were called about 9:30 a.m. and had the blaze extinguished in about 20 minutes, said Curt Monte, a Fire Department spokesman. But by the time firefighters found the woman, she already was dead.
The fire destroyed Murray’s home, leaving behind a charred shell of the one-story structure, with broken windows and a side door swung open.
Murray Melvin, 35, a computer programmer, has lived across the street from Murray his entire life. He was working from home Friday when the fire started.
“My wife came in the room and said, ‘Ms. Virginia’s house is on fire,’ ” he said.
Murray, a former health care worker who lived alone, enjoyed watching television, smoking and walking her dog, neighbors said.
Melvin said one of his last interactions with Murray was several weeks ago when her cable went out and the pair exchanged movies.
“She was just a very nice lady who mostly kept to herself,” he said.
Melvin’s sister was set to drive the longtime neighbor to a doctor’s appointment Friday morning, he said, but arrived to find the woman’s house scorched.
“It’s just sad,” Melvin said. “You never expect this kind of thing to happen.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Monte said.
Follow Matt McKinney on Twitter, @Mmckinne17.