An elderly woman described as “everybody’s grandma” died after a fire ripped through her Chartiers Township home Wednesday night.

Officials did not release the name of the victim, but family members said her name was Grace Thomas. A neighbor described Thomas as “an awesome woman.”

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the home at 235 Sprowls Ave. shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Neighbors called 911 after they saw flames coming from the home.

Tammy Williams, who has lived across the street from Thomas since she was a little girl, was inside her home when she smelled smoke. She said she went outside and saw firefighters had already arrived.

Williams said she had been close friends with Thomas’ daughter while they were growing up, and she spent a lot of time at the Thomas home.

“She was the best woman in the world. We had such fun at her house. We played there all the time,” said Williams. “We had a ball with her. She was the best mom and grandma there was.”

Firefighters from Chartiers Township, Houston and North Strabane Township responded to the blaze, which is under investigation by the state police fire marshal.

Thomas was believed to be in her 90s.

Family members and neighbors consoled each other and looked on while firefighters walked through the debris.

Said family member Deraye Oakely, “She was an awesome woman and a grandma to everyone. She was a prayerful woman, and for this to happen to her is awful.”

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