MONCTON, N.B. -- Two tragic events have left a New Brunswick man without a wife or mother within 24 hours.

On Sunday morning, a house fire in Moncton resulted in a man being taken to hospital for minor burns and smoke inhalation. While he was able to survive, a woman who lived at the house died.

Firefighters say there was little they could do when they arrived at the scene shortly after 4:00 a.m. Meanwhile, neighbours could only watch as the blaze destroyed the home.

"It was about five minutes to four [o'clock]," says neighbour, Ruth Bourgeois. "I got up, and I looked out the bedroom window – the flames were just shooting."

The man managed to escape the flames. Once the fire was out, investigators began looking for the body of a woman who didn't make it out alive. Friends of the man and woman say the two were a couple.

Moncton Fire Department officials say the woman was in her 50s but are unsure of the man's age.

As if the devastating loss of his wife wasn't enough, several neighbours say the man told them that he lost his mother in a car crash in Beersville, N.B., on Saturday night.

"His mom died in a car crash last night, and she [wife] died in the fire – now that's an awful undertaking for one person," says Bourgeois.

In addition to extinguishing the house fire, firefighters took on the task of preventing it from spreading to nearby residences – possibly saving lives.

Next door neighbour, Marjorie Aube, awoke to her son-in-law alerting her to the fire. While flames managed to melt the siding of her home, she made it out with her life.

"He says 'Marj, get up,'" says Aube. "He says 'the house next door is on fire' – so we rushed out to the door.

Sadly, there was no way to save the woman in the home next door. Residents of the tight-knit community say they were familiar with the family.

"If you needed them, they were there for you," says Bourgeois.

Neighbours now say it's their turn to help the man through his tragic circumstances.

Meanwhile, fire investigators remained on the scene for the majority of the day – their investigation continues.