04/10/07 — Woman found in trailer after fire

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Woman found in trailer after fire

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 10, 2007 1:46 PM

The body of a 54-year-old woman was pulled from a mobile home on Stoney Creek Church Road that caught fire early Sunday.

Billy Jean Ellis was inside the home as flames swept through her single-wide trailer leaving only charred metal, debris and memories in its wake.

Firefighters from Belfast, Pikeville, Patetown, Little River and Pinewood responded to 286 Stoney Creek Church Road at about 1 a.m. and found the home engulfed in flames, Belfast Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Gurley said.

About 50 firefighters and 18 fire trucks rushed in to extinguish the blaze. It took fire crews about 20 minutes to put the fire out, but they remained on the scene for six hours.

After snuffing out the fire, firefighters recovered Ms. Ellis' body from the mobile home, officials said.

Ms. Ellis' body was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy, Gurley said.

Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. Tom Effler said preliminary autopsy reports show Ms. Ellis died of natural causes.

"She was probably already deceased before the fire started," Effler said.

The house was severely gutted by the fire. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, however, no foul play is suspected, he said.

"She was found in such a way that the fire could have started from an electrical short or from cooking," Effler said.