A 42-year-old mother of two died when a massive blaze consumed her Long Island home Saturday morning, authorities said.
Neighbors said KerryAnn Dudley was asleep in the house on Croydon Drive in Bellmore when the fire broke out just after 2:30 a.m. It took two hours for 100 firefighters and 25 trucks to get the blaze, which demolished the house, under control.
Dudley was the only one in the home at the time of the blaze. Neighbors said her children -- ages 12 and 17 -- spent the night with their father the night of the fire so weren't around.
It wasn't immediately clear where the fire started, but fire investigators said she was trapped in her upstairs bedroom and never made it out.
The fire is being investigated by arson detectives who, at this time, believe the fire to be accidental. No one else was hurt.
The deadly fire devastated many members of the tightly-knit community. Neighbors called Dudley a "wonderful" woman. While he did not personally know her, the fire chief said of her unfortunate death, "It's tough, we did what we could."
Cries of pain intermittently erupted as distressed neighbors called at the scene of the blaze that killed their friend.
"I seen her the other day picking flowers out of the garden, i mean picking weekds, and now this happens?" bemoaned Ray Regan, who lives nearby. "Horrible, just horrible."
Neighbors told NBCNewYork Dudley smoked cigarettes, but it's not clear if that played a role in the fire. Her co-workers also showed up to say goodbye; they explained she worked in collections for a healthcare company.
"When I go to work on Monday she's not going to be there," said co-worker Marry Anne Nesfield. "Instead, we have a funeral to go to."