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SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. -- Spotsylvania's Fire Chief says it may seem like common sense but he wanted to stress an important message to our viewers Friday night.

He said if your house catches fire, get your loved ones and get outside. Do not go back inside and don't hesitate to call 911. Valuable seconds can save lives.

An early morning fire Friday ripped through a home on Forest Walk Drive. A man living there with his mother ran to a neighbor’s house to call for help.

But his mother, 71-year-old Karen Macey was trapped inside and died.

"I got choked up quick.  It's going to be tough," said Robert Ridings, a friend of the Macey family. "She was a kind, generous and loving woman. She was great to my daughter."

Macey had been a staple in this community for decades.

"She takes in all kinds of animals,” said Ridings. “She had a skunk, a raccoon. She rescued cats and dogs."

It's unclear how many animals were inside at the time of the fire. Neighbors say they saw Animal Control come to the property Friday afternoon.

Fire investigators even returned at nightfall to check for hot spots.

The investigation into what caused the home to erupt in flames is still under investigation. But firefighters believe a call for help could have been made sooner.

"I don't want to narrow the focus on one cause or another but on all structure fires, if you smell smoke , see flames, don't try and extinguish it yourself.  Don't take evacuating lightly," said Fire Chief Monty Willaford.

Spotsylvania County has seen three fire fatalities within thirty days. One of the victims was 12-year-old Roanna Hill, who died running back into her burning home last month to save her disabled grandmother. She will have a “Celebration of Life” service on Sunday at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.