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Fire claims young life

MURFREESBORO – What caused a residential fire that tragically killed a young child near here Friday morning is under investigation.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan confirmed the death of a 17-month-old child who was inside a mobile home that caught fire shortly before 11:30 a.m. The home is located at the intersection of Horton Road and Evergreen Road, off NC 11 south of Murfreesboro.

The investigation, being handled by the Sheriff’s Office and the SBI, was still in its early stages as of News-Herald presstime Friday night. Due to the probe, the Sheriff did not release the name of the victim, nor were the names of the other individuals in the home at the time of the blaze.

“All I can tell you at this time is that two adult males, ages 32 and 34, and two children, ages 3 and 17 months, were inside the mobile home when the fire occurred,” Sheriff Vaughan said. “One of the adults was the father of both children.”

The Sheriff added that he didn’t think any of the other three victims were injured.

“There were attempts by both adult males inside the home as well as the first emergency responders on the scene to rescue the (17-month-old) child, but the fire was too intense,” Vaughan said. “The fire was so intense that a dog, tied to a tree in the front yard of the residence, was burned to death.”

Vaughan said those inside the home were reportedly asleep when the fire broke out.

Lee Thompson, assistant chief of the Murfreesboro Fire Department, said the home was fully engulfed upon arrival.

“Basically all we could do at that point was launch a (water) attack, control the fire and begin a search for anyone inside,” Thompson said.

Thompson added that the young victim was discovered in a bedroom of the singlewide mobile home.

Sheriff Vaughan said the SBI was summoned to investigate.

“It’s standard operating procedure to call in the SBI arson investigator when there is a fire that involves a fatality,” the Sheriff said. “It’s not that we think it’s arson…it appears to me that the fire was accidental in nature…again it’s just standard procedure in a fatal fire.”

Vaughan added that a SBI K-9 arson dog was en route to Hertford County from Wilmington to assist in helping to discover the source of the fire.

Captain Raymond Eure, Lt. Will Liverman and Detective Dexter Hayes are handling the investigation for the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.

Thompson reported the call came in at 11:23 a.m. The Murfreesboro Fire Department responded to that call with three units and 12 firemen. Mutual aid assistance was provided by the Winton Fire Department (2 units, 11 firemen) and Union Fire Department (2 units, 4 firefighters).

The fire was under control at 12:05 p.m.

One Murfreesboro Fire unit remained at the scene during the afternoon as the investigation began.

Hertford County EMS and the Murfreesboro Police Department were also on the scene.

Thompson said the mobile home was a total loss. The house next door suffered minor damage from the heat.