A large-scale blaze incinerated portions of a brick home Thursday morning in Lincolnton, fire officials said.
Firefighters and police were still on scene at noon, hours after the fire broke out.
Yellow police tape surrounded the property, and pieces of the scorched residence were still smoldering.
A neighbor called 911 just before 4:30 a.m., according to the Communications Center.
Police said individuals at the Lincolnton Fire Department, less than a mile away, also spotted the fire’s glow.
Owner Shirley McGinnis was not inside her Westview Drive residence when fire officials believed flames ignited in a back den.
McGinnis has been staying in the assisted living section of Cardinal Health Center Nursing Home in Lincolnton for the last few months, according to family friend Shirley Drum, who told the Times-News that McGinnis was “heartbroken” to hear about the blaze.
Fire officials have yet to determine the cause of incident but are not ruling out arson.
While the State Bureau of Investigation was first called to the scene to assist in the investigation, fire and law enforcement officials later cancelled the request and decided local authorities only should investigate the incident at this time.
“We don’t know anything right now,” Det. Dwayne McAllister said.
North 321 Fire Department assisted Lincolnton with the blaze.