A firefighter says when emergency crews arrived at a house fire in Coley's Point on Wednesday, it was too late to save the elderly couple inside.

Doug Mercer, assistant chief with the Bay Roberts fire department, said when he got to the scene around 2 p.m., the house on Neck Road was already full of smoke.

He says firefighters did what they could when they went inside the bungalow.

"The two victims had succumbed to smoke inhalation, I guess, and we retrieved the bodies and performed CPR as long as we could until the paramedics showed up."

The victims were in their late 70s and early 80s.

Man tried to save wife

Investigators continued to look into the cause of the fire on Thursday.

Fire Chief Clarence Russell said there's evidence that the husband was not in the house when the fire started, and that he arrived in his car some time after.

"We're not quite sure, but it seems to be that way," he said.

"We were talking to the family. They say the way the car was parked out on the road, it looks like he did enter the house and tried to save her. And he was passed out by her side."

The woman had Alzheimer's and was found still sitting in her chair in the living room. Her husband had collapsed next to her.

So far, there are indications that the fire started in the kitchen, but never spread beyond it.

Community hit hard

Mercer said the tragedy has hit the close-knit community hard.

"It's a devastating blow. Especially seniors who live a quiet life, and to end up losing their life in this nature, it's a difficult thing to deal with actually."