BELMONT, N.C. -- A 69-year-old woman has died after a fire broke out in her Belmont home.

According to her ex-husband, Shirlene Daughtridge lived in the house, located on the 1800-block of South Point Road, since 1972 and was home alone when the fire broke out.

Gaston County Emergency services received the initial call reporting the fire around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in Belmont. They confirmed the fire had caused a fatality. Firefighters said the majority of damage caused by the fire was on the lower level of the home.

Angie Portela grew up in the house next to Daughtridge.

"She was always very sweet. She's got a daughter around my age, and we played together a lot," Portela said. "She was always so good to us."

Portela said a family friend received a call from Daughtridge who was screaming for help before the line went dead.

Portela said another person nearby went by to check the home when she saw heavy smoke and called firefighters.

Her cousin-in-law Les Taylor said she was a hoarder, and he's worried that may have played a role in her death.

"It's just hard to believe that this happened like it did," Taylor said. "What a terrible, terrible way for somebody to die."

Portela said Daughtridge was a retired nurse who worked at the local jail.

Fire investigators are still working to determine a cause.