The Fredericton Police Force is investigating a house fire and sudden death on the city’s south side.

Emergency crews were called to the home on Canterbury Drive around 5:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Residents say they awoke to the smell of smoke and sounds of emergency vehicles.

They also say it’s not the first time police have visited the home.

“When they were trying to get in so that they could put the fire out, the windows seemed to be boarded from the inside, which is strange,” said area resident Hal Babcock.

Babcock, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 25 years, watched along with his neighbours as first responders knocked the fire down.

“The structure fire was quickly brought under control,” said Insp. Mike Berry of the Fredericton Police Force.“The police were called in to investigate following the discovery of a person found deceased inside.”

Police are working with the fire department and coroner’s office to determine the cause of the fire and of the person’s death.

No details about the victim have been released.

Another neighbour spoke to a woman who lives across the street.

“She indicated that she was awakened around 5 a.m. by an explosion,” said Ian Walsh. “She alerted 911 and the neighbours.”

Like others, Walsh reported seeing a canine unit in their backyard and searching the nearby area.

“When I saw them coming with the dog, I thought, ‘this is far beyond what I even could have imagined,” said Ruth Elkins.“I had no idea what they might be pursuing.”

Police would not say whether they have visited the house in the past.

“It doesn't surprise me one bit that there's a bit of commotion because we've seen cops there on and off for the last few years,” said Carlin Fraser.

Neighbours say it is normally a quiet community.

“Just a perfect neighbourhood,” Walsh said. “Primarily senior citizens and everybody gets along with everybody.”

Canterbury Drive was closed Wednesday between Essex Street and Surrey Crescent as police conducted their investigation. They were asking people to avoid the area.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jessica Ng.