The death of a woman found after an apartment fire early Thursday has been ruled a homicide, according to Chicago fire officials.
Fire officials said firefighters responded to the blaze just after 12 a.m. in the 1300 block of West 57th Street in the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side.
There they found a 38-year-old woman in the bedroom of a second floor apartment, according to Chicago police, who said she was pronounced dead on the scene.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's office did not immediately confirm the fatality. The Chicago Fire Department tweeted Thursday morning that the investigation determined her death was a homicide, and that the case had been turned over to police as a crime scene.
The cause of the woman's death was unknown, and it was unclear if she died from the fire or before.
Friends identified the victim as Ta'anda Hall, a mother of three who had just moved into the apartment two months ago and lived alone.
They said she was a hard-working mother, working in the restaurant and bar industry, and that they were shocked to hear of her death.
A neighbor said he tried to alert as many residents as he could - but it wasn't enough.
"I started knocking on the windows trying to wake everybody up to come up out the building," a neighbor said. "I tried to go in the building but it was real smoky upstairs so I went around to the back, jumped the gate and knocked on the door and let the people know, alerted them."
Fire officials on the scene initially said there was a smoke detector in the hallway of the building, but later said it couldn't be heard during the blaze.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.