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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville woman initially thought to have died in a house fire is now believed to be the victim of foul play, authorities said Monday afternoon.
The blaze that erupted early Sunday morning torched the house on Cypress Street where Vernice Aniton had lived for more than 13 years, neighbors said. The 64-year old woman was found dead Sunday, but following an autopsy, authorities announced her death was suspicious.
The fire torched both the interior and exterior walls of the small white house. The blaze was so intense it spread quickly to the house next door.
Arson investigators are now looking into the possibility that more than one fire was intentionally set, according to Maj. Henry Ott with the Metro Arson squad.
Fire crews at the scene confirmed that a victim was found in the bedroom of the first home that caught on fire after the blaze was put out.
Neighbors at the scene who escaped the blaze in their home said they were concerned about the woman.
Alonzo Hearn, who called himself a friend of Aniton, said he was surprised to learn her death is being considered a homicide.
"I'm shocked. And it's kind of nerve-racking that it happened in your neighborhood just a door or so down. It's scary," said Hearn.
Hearn says his sleep was disrupted early Sunday when he heard two loud noises.
"I heard what sounded like thunder - a boom , then a boom - and then I seen a big blaze," he said.
Larry Fugett, who lives across the street from Aniton, said "I tried to get in the house but the fire was too bad."
Fugett says he has known Aniton for more than 13 years. Saddened by her death Sunday, he was surprised to find homicide detectives at his house Monday morning asking questions about who might have wanted her dead.
"It's crazy. Vernice didn't have no enemies man. She was over at my house more than hers," Fugett said.
"She was a really nice lady. She'll be missed in the neighborhood," said Hearn.
Fugett says he hopes whoever is responsible is troubled by the crime.
"I got a conscience and that would bother me. So if you got a conscience, I hope it would bother them - turn yourself in," Fugett said.
A WDRB News reporter reached out to several family members. At one point, a woman who answered a reporter's phone call declined to comment, only saying that "the family wants to urge anyone with information to come forward."
Court records show the victim had minor offenses on her record.
No cause of death was released as of news time late Monday evening.