Police dispatched early Tuesday to tell a man's girlfriend that he had survived a vehicle's plunge into the Delaware River (search) found the couple's house on fire and the woman dead inside.

Authorities have not said whether the case is a botched murder-suicide attempt or came about through other circumstances.

Emergency operators received a call about a vehicle splashing into the Delaware River in Palmyra (search) shortly before 2 a.m. Firefighters used a boat to rescue a man who managed to climb atop the partially submerged vehicle, said Jack Smith, spokesman for the Burlington County prosecutor's office.

The man — Joseph Morice, 28 — was taken to Cooper University Hospital (search) in Camden.

Smith said Morice was believed to be alone when the vehicle belonging to his girlfriend went into the river.

Shortly before 3 a.m., police in Evesham were sent to the man's home — more than 15 miles south of where the car plunged into the river — to tell his girlfriend he had survived.

When they arrived, the home was ablaze. Smith said Lauren Noble, 29, was found dead inside.

Denne Keller, a neighbor of the couple and former neighborhood association president, said other neighbors had told them they heard the couple fighting in recent weeks.

"The whole neighborhood is in sort of a state of depression because they didn't know it could happen here," Keller said.