Fire crews continue to investigate the cause of a fire at a northwest home that claimed the life of a Calgary woman on Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at a residence on Vauxhall Crescent N.W. at about 5:30 a.m.

When crews arrived they found the back of the home engulfed in flames.

"The first thing they did was enter the home and went to do a primary search because that is our priority. We want to save lives. The extent of the fire already, how much it had grown, a fire doubles in size every thirty seconds, so you can imagine how quickly that grows and spreads and so it affected the floor and fire crews were unable to continue in otherwise they would have put their lives at risk as well," said Carol Henke, public information officer with the Calgary Fire Department.

One male occupant was able to escape the fire but a female did not.

Her body was found by firefighters in a rear bedroom after they got the blaze under control.

"The tragedy of this story is that fire crews did find a body and it's under investigation. The Medical Examiner will be investgating along with arson crews and the fire investigator and this is standard whenever there is a fatality," said Henke.

Neighbours have identified the woman as Sherri Nicholls and say she was a generous and helpful member of the community.

Investigators believe the fire began in the basement and say the damage is extensive.

Fire and arson investigators are looking into the cause of the fire and an autopsy will be conducted in the coming days.