Woman, dog found dead in Tempe bedroom fire; victim identified by family member

Firefighters say a woman and a dog were found dead Wednesday after a fire broke out in the bedroom of a Tempe home.

Tempe firefighters responded to the scene on Sept. 28 near University and McClintock Drives for reports of a fire at a fourplex.

Once on scene, firefighters found a fire in the bedroom of one of the units and quickly extinguished it. The fire did not spread beyond the bedroom, but it did cause smoke damage to other units.

While searching the bedroom, firefighters found a woman and a dog dead. We have since learned, via a family member, that the woman who was found dead inside was Nicole Bryden.

"I can't believe this is happening," said Heather Kearns, who was one of Bryden's friends. "I had to leave when I found out."

Kearns said she used to work with Bryden, and said she was beloved for her sense of humor.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Family members say Bryden leaves behind three children.

"Once upon a time she was one of the kindest people I knew," said Bryden's sister, Angela Huckaby.

According to Huckaby, Bryden had some challenges in life, and at one point turned to drugs.

Bryden reportedly tried fentanyl just once, and was hooked.

"Fentanyl is a beast," said Huckaby. "It's hard as hell to kick."

Huckaby said Bry den was trying to turn her life around when this happened. Meanwhile, the family is dealing with the loss of a loved one once again: the Brydens burned their mother just ten days prior.

"We spent all of our money on her, and now we got this happening. We don’t have any money there," said Huckaby.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral costs.

(Click here for GoFundMe)

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