85-year-old woman killed in Holly Springs fire

HOLLY SPRINGS (WTVD) -- Officials say an 85-year-old woman was killed in a fire at her Holly Springs home.

The victim has been identified as Alma Stewart.

Family members and friends gathered at her home to console one another. One family member told ABC11 everyone is very upset about the loss.

The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the 4500 block of Sunset Lake Road.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said a volunteer firefighter happened to be driving by and saw the flames. He immediately pulled over to check on the home. The firefighter saw Stewart lying on the floor inside the burning house. He broke the glass on a sliding door to try and get her to safety, but it was too late.

The victim's neighbors describe Stewart as someone who was always in good spirits and incredibly kind.

"It's hard to see an elderly person to go like this way. It's just not easy," said neighbor Jeannie Balfanz. "I'm just really sorry that the family had to go through this. My heart goes out to them."

"I'm used to seeing her on the outdoor porch or walking to the mailboxes. It's just going to take some time to get used to it, not seeing her," said neighbor Kim Harris.

The Sheriff's Office said the preliminary investigation shows the fire was accidental.

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