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SHELBYVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - An 81-year-old woman was killed in a house fire near Gun Lake on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire sparked at the large home around 2 p.m. on England Drive near the shore of the south side of the lake.
Michigan State Police investigators said Emma Jane Evans was killed in the blaze. She was the only person in the house, they believe.
Five different departments -- Orangeville Township, Martin Township, Thornapple Township, Prairieville Township and Delton -- were called to the scene to help fight the fire. Because the homes in the area are so close together, firefighters doused the neighboring residences with water to make sure they didn't catch fire.
Daniel Mooney, who witnessed the fire, said it was the worst one he'd ever seen.
"The wind off the bay just kept feeding it, air kept feeding it, air kept feeding it, the firefighters had to go in, get back out, go in, get back out," he said. "It wasn't until the garage roof actually caved in that they were able to get it under control."
Fire officials don't yet know what caused Evans's house to go up in flames.
Neighbors said they were worried about their houses.
"It could happen to any one of the houses out here. The houses are just made of wood," neighbor Jayne Spickenagel said. "My house is wood, too."
Gerrie Rardeen said she and her husband Duane had known Evans for about 30 years and that Evans's husband died a few months ago.
"The last few years she'd just gone down hill, but she just was special," Rardeen said. "It's just hard that something this horrible would happen."
"We're a tight community around here so everybody knows everybody. They're going to be missed," Duane Rardeen added.
An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday.
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