Woman dies in house fire on Houston's south side

November 27, 2012 10:46:57 AM PST
Residents in a south side Houston neighborhood are in shock over the death of a neighbor killed in a house fire. The search for what sparked the blaze continues.

The victim has been identified as Gladys Cotton. Firefighters say intense flames and clutter in the home prevented them from reaching her in time to save her life.

Family members of Gladys Cotton, 66, gathered at the home where she lost her life overnight after a fire ripped through her home. Neighbors say they are in disbelief.

"We had just got through talking with her yesterday evening about Thanksgiving," recalled neighbor Adrian Collier. "That was my last time talking to her."

Firefighters located Cotton's body in the bathtub. She died after being rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

"They couldn't find her at first and they finally found her in the bathroom in the bathtub," Collier said. "She had put water all over her but she was overcome by smoke."

The flames were so intense firefighters say they couldn't make entry into the front of the home. Instead they had to cut away the wall on the backside of the house to get in. But firefighters also had other challenges.

"In this home, this particular individual has numerous, numerous videotapes, clothes, lots of furniture and it made it very difficult for firefighters to enter," explained Jay Evans with the Houston Fire Department.

Neighbors say Cotton has lived in this home for more than 30 years and say they just can't believe she is gone.

"She was a nice lady, nice lady, very sweet," Collier said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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