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MONROE, N.C. -- A Monroe woman died inside her home Wednesday night after fire officials say a cigarette started a fire inside the home.

Martha Mills, 64, lived with her two sons, but only one was home Wednesday night when the fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. Neighbors say the son was outside and started yelling for help, so they called 911 and quickly tried to rescue Mills.

One neighbor says they were trying to help the son get inside the home.

Cassandra Sturdivant says the son cut his hand by breaking into the bedroom window. They also were grabbing water hoses trying to clear a path to get into the back of the house where the fire started inside Mills bedroom, where she was trapped.

Sturdivant says it was terrifying and she wishes they could have done more.

We were trying to get in but we couldn t. The smoke was...too smoky, you couldn t see anything but the floor. The flames so bad you couldn t see anything, couldn t breathe, nothing, said Sturdivant.

Mills was disabled so she was unable to get out herself. She was also on oxygen.

Monroe Fire officials said the fire was started by Mills smoking a cigarette in her bedroom and they say the oxygen quickly enhanced the fire.

Firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 6:30 p.m. and found smoke coming from the residence.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/12/29/2883360/woman-dies-in-monroe-house-fire.html#storylink=cp
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