Homicide and arson detectives are investigating the death of a woman early Tuesday in an East Patchogue house fire, Suffolk County police said.
Suffolk police Homicide Commander Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said the woman, who was in her 50s, was found by police and firefighters "just inside the front door."
She was pronounced dead at the scene, he said. An autopsy will be performed, Fitzpatrick said, adding that she had suffered "some burns."
The woman was the only person inside the home at the time of the fire, police said. Her identity is being withheld pending the autopsy, police said.
The fire broke out at the Munsell Road house, south of Head of the Neck Road, about 8 a.m., a police spokeswoman said.
Neighbor Susie Johnson, 47, said she knew the woman, whose parents had also lived in the home until they died. Johnson said she smelled smoke from the burning house as she was leaving her home for the gym about 7:30 a.m. She ran to the house of another neighbor, a firefighter with the Hagerman Fire Department, asking him to call in the fire.
Johnson said she then went to the front door of the burning home and to a bedroom window, knocking each time in an attempt to rouse the woman.
"All you could see was smoke coming out of the house," said Johnson, a barber. "It was horrible."
Johnson wondered aloud what might have happened if she had been outside a little earlier. "I didn't wake up early enough," she said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, police said.