By Rachel Wulff

LODI (CBS13) — A woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition after an early morning fire engulfed a duplex in Lodi.

The Lodi Fire Department says, just before 1:45 a.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a report of a house fire along Huntington Drive. Responding crews soon discovered one half of a duplex was on fire.

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An officer who also showed up at the scene found a woman lying next to the building. The officer pulled the woman to safety and firefighters went to work. Authorities say the woman, who is in her 70s, was badly burned. She was rushed to the hospital and was in critical condition.

The woman’s side of the duplex was a total loss, the fire department says; the attached unit also had extensive smoke damage.

“First we heard some crackling and popping and then we looked out the window and the whole house was on fire,” Tim Shelton said.

Shelton was still shaking Monday morning after a harrowing rescue in the overnight hours just before 2 a.m. When he saw the duplex across the street was on fire, he jumped out of bed and went to see if he could help as crews arrived on the scene. His parents watched from their front door.

“The flames were way up high, shooting in the whole house, you could hear explosions going off,” said his father Gary Shelton.

In the midst of the chaos, Shelton saw his neighbor.

“The lady came running through the fire and fell to the ground,” he said.

That’s when a Lodi police officer ran up to her and started trying to carry her to safety. Shelton says he and a neighbor stepped in to help.

“The woman was gasping for air,” he said.

She was badly burned but they were able to pull her to the sidewalk. Neighbors say she lived alone and was not in good health.

“Nice person–very nice person. She came over to the house all the time,” Margaret Shelton said.

Exactly what started the fire is now under investigation.

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