Neighbors near the house at 602 E. South Street claimed they heard an explosion. Billy Terrell believes his aunt, who lived in the home, died in the fire, but authorities have not been able to confirm that yet.
Years ago, Terrell lived with his aunt, 89-year-old Ava Lee Terrell, while he was in school at Shaw University just a few blocks away. He said she was happy to help him practice what she preached.
"She stressed, 'Get an education. Read.' She read two hours every day. She's a strong lady," he said. "I loved to talk to her because she inspired me so much."
The fire did spread to a nearby home, but that fire was quickly extinguished.
Terrell lived alone and cooked her own meals on a gas stove. Investigators dragged out the stove Tuesday to investigate whether it was the source of the explosion.