DALLAS - Neighbors tried to save an elderly woman who was trapped inside her burning home Thursday morning.
Johnnye Hughes had burglar bars surrounding the entire front porch of her home near Lancaster Road and Ledbetter Drive in east Oak Cliff.
"When I got home the house was on fire. She was at the gate saying, 'Help, help.' I asked her where her keys was and I tried to get into her," said Chastity Ervin, a neighbor. "She didn't have a key and the house was on fire and everything was combusting in there. I called 911."
By the time Dallas firefighters arrived on the scene it was too late to save her.
Hughes was an 81-year-old retired Dallas County worker. She lived alone and had just gotten out of the hospital.
"She was a woman that helped everybody. I mean, she took us as children and did everything for us," said Rachelle Alexander, her niece.
"She was a sweet person. She was outspoken, but a sweet person. She had her own little ways… just the way she was," said Randall Cyrus, another neighbor. "I'm going to miss her."
Family members said they had repeatedly asked her for a key because they worried something like this might happen.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of the fire.