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NC briefs

TOBACCOVILLE (AP) — Three teenagers have been arrested on animal cruelty charges after Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies were told about a video in which an opossum was burned and killed.

Eighteen-year-old Kalob Jennings Hubbard of Tobaccoville, and a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old have been charged.

Chief Deputy Brad Stanley says investigators received a tip last month about a video posted on Instagram where people captured, burned and killed a wild opossum.

Arrest warrants say the incident happened in late October or early November in Tobaccoville.

Stanley says the video has been removed, but the sheriff’s office has a copy of it.

North Carolina sentencing laws indicate Hubbard could face six to eight months in jail if he is convicted.

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Authorities say several cats and dogs belonging to an east Charlotte family have died in a two-alarm house fire.

The Charlotte Observer reports an investigator said the fire was sparked by an electrical short related to a space heater placed in the crawl space to thaw frozen pipes. Fire officials said the four residents were not home at the time of the fire.

Assistant Fire Marshal Mike Petleski said the fire “was electrical in nature, but it wouldn’t have occurred had the heater not been down there.”

Tuesday’s fire was reported about 9 p.m. at a residence in the 7300 block of Maitland Lane in a neighborhood off Reedy Creek Road.

Neighbors saw the fire and called 911. More than 40 firefighters battled the blaze.

ASHEVILLE (AP) — Police in Asheville are looking into multiple instances of vandalism to fire hydrants which left several streets coated with ice.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports one of the incidents occurred on Tuesday at one of the main entrances to UNC Asheville.

Sgt. Dave Romick said other instances were reported on W.T. Weaver Boulevard, Founders Drive, Mount Clare Avenue and Marlowe Drive. Romick said another series occurred on Melrose Avenue, Gracelyn Road, Kimberly Avenue, Charlotte Street and Town Mountain Road on Dec. 26.

Romick said the person responsible managed to open valves on the hydrants, Fire hydrants normally are tamper-proof because they require a special tool to open valves.

City officials had to close several streets because water from the hydrants quickly froze on roadways in bitter cold temperatures.

BOONE (AP) — A North Carolina prosecutor says the president of the company that owns a Boone motel where three guests were killed by poison gas that seeped into their room faces felony charges.

Prosecutor Britt Springer said a grand jury on Wednesday indicted Damon Mallatere. His company owned the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, where police say a faulty swimming pool heater allowed carbon monoxide to seep into a motel room.

Two Washington state visitors died in April, but delays in investigating the cause led to an 11-year-old South Carolina boy dying in the same room in June. The boy’s mother nearly died.

Springer says Mallatere faces three counts of involuntary manslaughter and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

RALEIGH (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre’s retirement decision means a further dwindling of the number of conservative Democrats in Congress. It also opens the door wide for North Carolina Republicans to pick up a seat they’ve fallen short on winning for years.

McIntyre announced Wednesday he won’t seek a 10th term in the 7th Congressional District, which covers portions of 12 counties from Wilmington and points north and west to the edge of the Triangle.

McIntyre has been a repeated election target of the national GOP, and the 2011 redistricting maps left McIntyre living outside his reconfigured district. But he still won re-election in 2012, beating Republican David Rouzer by less than 700 votes.

UNC-Wilmington professor Craig Burnett says McIntyre may be the only Democrat around capable of winning the district.

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