The fire started at about 7:45 p.m. in the kitchen at a house on East Third Street, but it was not immediately clear what caused the fire. Investigators said Tuesday that the fire was an accident.
Fire authorities said the victim, Julia Odom, was outside gardening when she heard an explosion from inside the residence. Neighbors saw flames and told her not to go inside, but she did anyway, and never came back outside, authorities at the scene said.
Firefighters from five different departments, including Selma, Pine Level and Oakland, were still working to extinguish the two-alarm fire late Monday night.
At age 88, Odom showed no signs of slowing down, family members said. The eighth of 13 children and a retired nurse, she loved gardening.
"We go places together, we enjoy each other," said Esther Sasser, Odom's sister and neighbor. "She was my sister and my best friend."
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