2 die in Badin house fire

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 27, 2018

By Ritchie Starnes

The Stanly News & Press

Two people died in an early Wednesday morning house fire in west Badin.

Federal, state and local investigators sifted through the charred remains in search of a cause in the post-Christmas fire at 408 Jackson St., according to Badin police Sgt. Steven Butler.

“After the fire was put out, two bodies were discovered in the house,” Butler said.

The victims were both male, but authorities declined to release their names pending confirmation by the medical examiner.

Both victims’ bodies were found in a middle bedroom. It’s unclear if they were killed by the fire, smoke inhalation or some other means, another determination for the medical examiner, according to Stanly County Fire Marshal Danny Barham.

“Supposedly, only two people lived there,” Barham said.

One of the victims was ill and the other served as a caretaker, Barham added.

Roughly nine hours after the 5 a.m. fire began, investigators were still combing through the ashes trying to determine a cause.

“We’re pretty confident we have determined where the fire started,” Barham said, though he declined to identify the location.

“There are four possible causes,” he added. “Right now were trying to rule out heating.”

The brick ranch had an oil tank for heating, but it’s unclear if that was the home’s current or only source of heat.

A neighbor called 911 shortly after 5 a.m. to report the blaze. By the time first responders arrived, the house was engulfed, Butler said.

“Flames were visible when they got here,” Butler said.

The fire quickly reached the attic.

“Once a fire spreads to the attic, you’re going to lose the house,” Barham said.

Both the roof and floor collapsed in the fire that left the interior gutted with only the outer bricks still standing.

Neighbors watched firefighters work, some driving by to see the damage and inquire about the victims.

“It’s going to be a rough day for family members and the community,” Barham said.

Joining Stanly County officials with the probe are investigators with federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the State Fire Marshal’s, Union County, multiple fire departments and other law enforcement agencies.