Fatal fire in South Royalton under investigation

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SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt. (WCAX) Investigators are trying to figure out what started a fire in South Royalton Saturday night that claimed the life of a 60-year-old woman.

South Royalton residents Francis and Carol Zuccalo say they woke up to pounding on their door; it was their neighbor screaming that his house was on fire.

"He came up here banging on the door and he was all shook up," Francis Zuccalo said.

Zuccalo said Timothy Staples was at the door and he was covered in ash and frantically screaming that his wife was still in the house. Zuccalo called 911 and Staples ran back across the street, but according to a press release issued by the Vermont State Police, the home was fully engulfed in flames and Staples was unable to get back inside.

"When I look out on the porch and, oh boy, it was going," said Zuccalo.

Investigators say it was 60-year-old Roberta Staples who first noticed the flames. She was the one who told her husband to get help but she was unable to get herself out of the burning home.

"You couldn’t get near that thing. I tell ya, it was gone," said Zuccalo.

Multiple crews responded to the house, which is in a rural section of South Royalton. Roberta Staples' body was eventually located inside the charred structure. A tragic and sudden fire that comes as a shock to this neighbor.

"That’s the devastating thing-- in a few it's all gone," Zuccalo said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and police say they are investigating.