Two people were killed when an early-morning fire ripped through a single-family house in Lynn, authorities said Saturday.
Firefighters were alerted to the blaze at 15 McKinley Terrace by a neighbor who called 911 at 5:30 a.m., said spokeswoman Carrie Kimball Monahan of the Essex district attorney’s office.
The two-story home was charred, and some sections were thoroughly blackened by smoke that neighbors said poured out of broken windows. Vinyl siding on the stand-alone garage sagged, melted by the intense heat. Nearby houses and vehicles on the short residential street were covered in ash and flakes of wood and insulation that had drifted down.
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said there may have been five people at the house when the fire broke out.
It was “a very fast-moving fire that engulfed a portion of the home,” Coan said.
Firefighters battled heavy flames and thick smoke while attempting to rescue those inside, he said. “They were very heroic in their efforts to try to save these two people.”
Neighbors said the victims of the fire were a woman and her adult son, who they said was trying to rescue his mother from a room on the second floor when both succumbed to the heat.
Three generations of the family had lived there, neighbors said, though they mostly kept to themselves. Several mentioned that the woman recently had undergone hip surgery and had been seen using a cane.
Several neighbors credited the survival of three other residents, who they said were also relatives, to the quick thinking of a neighbor they identified as Arthur Brown. Brown smelled smoke, then ran to the home’s front door and pounded on it frantically, they said, alerting residents to the blaze and allowing them to escape.
Hamlet Martinez, who lives on the street, was awakened by the sound of sirens. He looked out his window to see firetrucks pulling up to the house across the street, which by then was fully in flames.
“The first thing I did was call my kids, wake them up, and tell them to get ready to move if we have to,” Martinez said. “I’m just glad it wasn’t a windy day. These houses are real close together.”
Early Saturday afternoon, people neighbors identified as relatives of the victims were seen taking pets and small boxes of belongings from the home. Some huddled at the end of the driveway, hugging each other. They declined to speak with reporters.
The American Red Cross is assisting a mother and two teenagers who were displaced by the fire, said Kat Powers, a spokeswoman.
“They ran out [of the house] without even shoes, so we are putting together an emergency fund,” Powers said.
Authorities said the cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.
@globe.com. Globe correspondent Jeff Fish contributed to this report.