Deadly Overnight Fire in Evans

September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 6:08 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 20, 2013 at 6:08 AM EDT

(DERBY, NY) WKBW - Investigators are still searching for the cause of an early morning fatal fire that took the life of 52-year-old Teresa Van Cheri in the Town of Evans.

The fire was discovered just after 2 A.M. at a home located on Hamilton Drive in Derby.

Neighbors say the victim's husband, Edward Van Cheri, had just returned home from work to find his house on fire with his wife trapped inside.

"It was horrible to see. He was trying to get a ladder from a neighbor . . . it was just awful," said Lisa Abramo, a neighbor who was awakened by the man's shouts for help.

Town of Evans Police arrived to the scene first and prevented the distraught man from entering his home which was heavily engulfed in flames.

Several volunteer fire companies responded, but firefighters were unable to save the woman.

Neighbors say the middle-aged couple lived alone and were well-liked by everyone in the small tight-knit community.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation but it has been determined that the fatal fire started in a second floor bedroom.