PLANT CITY (FOX13) - The State Fire Marshal is on scene and still trying to figure out what caused the fire.
Neighbors tell FOX 13 Carpenter's young family members, including her daughter, grandson and great-grandchildren often visited and stayed with her in the home overnight.
"This could have been a much bigger tragedy," said neighbor Vasavia Dawson. "Thank God the children weren't there."
Neighbors and family members also say they fear the fire might not have been an accident.
"It's a sad situation. I would hope that someone wouldn't set her house on fire, knowing it's an elderly woman, a sickly woman, and knowing that there's children, so I would hope that they didn't set it on fire and I'm just praying that they didn't," said Dawson.
The Plant City Police Department and the State Fire Marshal were on the scene of a deadly house fire Monday morning. It happened on the 1800-block of Bond Street just before 12:30 a.m.
When police arrived, they learned someone may have been inside the home. Responders made two attempts to get into the home. Intense flames and smoke forced responders to retreat from an unlocked side door and gain entry by kicking in the front door. Once inside, they found an 78-year-old Virginia Carpenter unresponsive on the couch.
They pulled her out and Plant City Fire Rescue and police officers tried to revive her. She was taken to South Florida Baptist Hospital, where she died from smoke inhalation.