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Deadly Grass Valley House Fire Started In Basement

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) - A fire in a Grass Valley home left one person dead on Monday afternoon. Grass Valley Fire Department is still investigating what led flames to erupt from the basement.

"Just decided to grab the hose and try and see what we could do to try to put it out," said Anthony Brocke, who saw flames coming from his neighbor's house. "I was spraying it for a while and the flames kept coming back up."

Brocke jumped into action and started to help when he saw the fire erupt.

"I was nervous for the other houses nearby and we were hoping that there was nobody inside," Brocke said. "You know, we had no idea."

Grass Valley Fire Department got the call just after noon. When firefighters arrived, they searched the house but didn't find anyone inside. They kept searching and found an area in the back of the house that looked like a basement.

"They found a single person that was occupying that space, which was a space not to be occupied," said Mark Buttron, Grass Valley Fire Chief. "It was an illegal living quarters."

It was packed with furniture, clothing and other items. That's where firefighters found a woman in her 30s, who died from her injuries. According to Fire Chief Mark Buttron, it's still unclear what started the fire.

"It's hard to say what could be down there, if it was an electrical fault or what," Brocke said.

He told CBS13 he doesn't know who died but said his neighbor shares the home with her son and grandson.

"Super nice lady and she was out at work and so we just were trying to do what we could to keep it from spreading," he said. "You would hope this kind of thing wouldn't happen during Christmas."

Neighbors told CBS13 the homeowner was visibly upset when she returned home on Monday afternoon. The victim's identity and cause of death have not yet been released.

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