A 95-year-old woman is believed to be dead after a fire ripped through a Penticton neighbourhood Wednesday and destroyed two homes. 

Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion around 6 p.m. then saw flames engulf a house near Skaha Lake. As firefighters arrived on scene, a woman ran toward them saying her mother was inside the home.

The fire quickly spread to a neighbouring property, and ultimately destroyed both.

"The first house completely burnt to the ground. The one that had the explosion completely burnt to the ground," witness Elizabeth Marion said.

Firefighters have been unable to confirm whether the elderly resident was inside the home, blaming the amount of her personal belongings packed inside.

Though they haven't recovered her body, they believe she died in the blaze.

Some neighbours packed their things Wednesday night fearing they would have to evacuate, but firefighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading any further.

Crews remained on scene overnight dealing with hot spots and trying to make sure high winds didn't get the fire going again.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson and Ben Miljure