"I noticed that there was a lot of black smoke, coming out of the top," neighbor Margaret Lewis said.
Lewis couldn't see any flames coming from her neighbor's house, but she knew it was on fire.
"I knew it was not steam, I knew it was smoke," she said.
Firefighters were at the house just minutes after receiving the 911 call, and had the fire out just minutes after that. But it still wasn't quick enough for the woman and her two dogs inside. The smoke was so thick, crews had to use infrared cameras to find the bodies.
"It looks as though the fire may have started in the back, in the kitchen area, but we're still investigating further right now," Alameda County Fire Battalion Chief Chuck Palmer said.
The woman, who lived alone, was found on the floor. Neighbors say that they could see the first responders trying to revive her before she was taken away.
Neighbors say that the woman had only been in the newly renovated home for about a year. Now, charred pots, melted knives and water-logged area rugs are all that remain.
It is believed she and her dogs died from smoke inhalation, but the official cause of death has not been determined.