Thaxted residents have described their shock and sadness after a house fire claimed the life of a woman on Saturday (November 27).

Residents alerted their neighbours to the blaze just before 8am, and helped evacuate surrounding homes.

The fire service said the blaze started on the ground floor of the property in Weaverhead Close before it spread to the top floor.

A man in his 60s escaped but sadly, an elderly woman died at the scene.

Dunmow Broadcast: Tributes to an elderly woman who has died after a house fire in Thaxted. Picture: Will DurrantTributes to an elderly woman who has died after a house fire in Thaxted. Picture: Will Durrant (Image: Archant)

Tributes and flowers have been laid outside the house.

Julie, of Weaverhead Close, paid tribute to her neighbour, a woman who has lived in Thaxted for "many many years".

Julie said: "It is such a huge loss.

"Weaverhead Close is very close knit so this has been really difficult to process for everyone.

"She was very well known in Thaxted."

Julie added: "My husband and I were leaving the house when we saw the fire.

"When you realise something like this is happening, you just jump into action, so we banged on neighbours' doors.

"Our other neighbours came out and they were brilliant and supportive, making sure everybody was warm, but we just felt so helpless."

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said that community members are grieving and are still in shock.

Firefighters from Saffron Walden, Newport and Dunmow were called to Weaverhead Close at 7.49am.

The fire was extinguished by 11.15am, with support from Witham, Stansted and Harlow crews, and an Aerial Ladder Platform crew from Chelmsford.

A fire service spokesperson said: "Firefighters were called to a house fire in Weaverhead Close, Thaxted.

"On arrival, crews reported that there was a fire on the ground floor of a terraced house that had spread to the first floor.

"After evacuating neighbours from either side of the property, firefighters worked to stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties."

The man in his 60s who escaped the fire was taken to hospital as a precaution on Saturday.

Neighbours said he has since been discharged.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service will investigate the cause of the fire jointly with Essex Police.