Authorities probe death of woman found in burning Rutland home

RUTLAND — A woman was killed in a fire this morning and authorities have put crime scene tape up around the house and issued a “be on the lookout” alert for a gray or silver 2004 Toyota Highlander seen in the area this morning. Police say they’re seeking the driver of the vehicle for questioning.

Rutland Fire Chief Brad Weber said the fire scene at 2 Joanna Drive is an active investigation. He said more information would come from the Worcester district attorney’s office.

Friends and relatives said that Diane Leader was living in the house by herself. A relative arriving at the house today said he was going to help Leader move out of the house.

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About 7 a.m., neighbors saw heavy smoke coming out of building. When firefighters arrived, the house was in flames.

They found the woman on the first floor.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t save the victim,” Fire Chief Brad Weber said.

Authorities have closed off a section of the road, which is on a side street off Pleasantdale Road, which runs between Route 122 and Route 31.