"We could actually se gray smoke covering flames just shooting up very, very high," said neighbor Amanda Parker.
"It was very dramatic, the whole, the whole center section of house had 15 to 20 foot flames," said neighbor Robert Parker.
Irene Cotton was driving by and saw the burning house and noticed a car in the driveway.
"I was all like, 'Wake up, wake up. There' s a fire, there's a fire,'" she said. "But nobody replied."
Harris County fire marshals say three people were inside, including one of the residents, a grandmother said to be in her 60s, her elderly friend and another woman in her 20s.
"It appears two of the victims were at the door," said Gustavo Lopez with the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "They were on the verge of getting out. Most likely, they were overcome by the smoke."
Two of the victims were visiting.
"One of the elderly victims, her and her niece came from Mexico on the 20th to visit to be here for the holidays," said Lopez.
Visibly distraught family members are being comforted by neighbors, who are also trying to cope and left wondering what if.
"Very sad; I mean, it's the day after New Years," said neighbor William Ramos. "You really hate for something like this to happen to somebody."
"I don't know what to say. That's really sad," said Cotton. "I'm a nurse and I wish I could have done something."
The names of the victims have not been officially released. A man who lived at the home wasn't there at the time of the fire.
Firefighters were able to save 10 rabbits from the home. The cause of the fire is under investigation.