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SBI joins fire probe

PENDLETON — What sparked a fire that destroyed an unoccupied mobile home near here Sunday is the subject of an investigation by two agencies. Wednesday afternoon, Northampton Sheriff’s Captain D.M. Harmon said he has asked for the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation to probe the cause of the blaze. “We’ll hopefully have some answers very soon to what caused the fire,” Capt. Harmon stated, adding that the SBI is scheduled to arrive today (Thursday). Harmon is the lead local detective on the fire. On Sunday afternoon, Severn and Conway Volunteer Fire Departments were dispatched to a residence located at 205 Pine Ridge Lane, off Stanley Barnes Road near the Northampton and Hertford County line. According to Assistant Severn Fire Chief Kevin Britt (the first department at the scene), the single-wide mobile home was 70 percent engulfed upon arrival. Britt said he called for assistance from near-by Murfreesboro Fire Department. He added that the two departments were able to contain the flames within 10 minutes. The three occupants of the home, Darrell Bayse along with his children Brittany, 12, and D.J., 13, were in the process of moving out and, therefore, were not inside the trailer at the time of the blaze. Bayse told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald he had been renting the home, owned by Ronnie and Sarah Culpepper, since October. Bayse said he was driving back from Kinston when someone called him about the fire. The flames were spotted by a neighbor. Bayse’s mother, Nancy Apple of Murfreesboro, was looking after his children when the fire occurred. Bayse said his family had planned to stay in the home the night before, but at the last minute decided not to when Apple chose to look after the children. Apple said her son had been traveling a lot for his job with Benchmark and ultimately decided not to continue to rent the home. Bayse had been placing his belongings in storage for the time being. Bayse said while most of his family’s belongings were out of the home when the fire occurred, two beds, a living room suit, stereos and some of the children’s school uniforms were lost.