12/04/08 — Couple die in blaze

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Couple die in blaze

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on December 4, 2008 1:46 PM

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Goldsboro firefighters responded to a structure fire around 3:30 a.m. today on Dakota Street. As the fire units arrived on the scene, they found the house and barn fully involved. Two people died in the blaze.

Two people died in a Dakota Street house fire early this morning, and state investigators have been called in, fire officials said.

Arson is not suspected at this point, Capt. Bernard Patterson said.

The names of the two victims, a man and a woman, were not released because some family members still needed to be notified, the captain said.

The captain said the female victim was found near a door in the living room, and the male victim was found in a bedroom in the home.

Patterson said an emergency call came in at 3:38 a.m. today, and firefighters arrived to find the home fully engulfed in flames and smoke.

Patterson said that a caller on Fourth Street notified authorities of the fire, which took about 21/2 hours to bring under control.

"Engine No. 3 arrive on the scene first, and they reported that it was fully involved," he said. "We started a defensive attack."

Firefighters can take two approaches to working a fire, defensive or offensive.

In an offensive attack, firefighters would actually enter a structure. The captain said the fire was already too severe for firefighters to go inside.

"You had fire and smoke coming from everywhere," Patterson said. "Basically, we fought it from the outside."

Two buildings were close enough to the home to sustain damage from the fire, which firefighters call "exposures."

"There was a large building to the left of it (the affected home), and there was a house next to that, that was damaged. So we had two exposures," Patterson said.

The couple were renting the home at 1506 Dakota St. Fire officials said they were having difficulty locating the landlord this morning.

Patterson said that it had been at least a year, but possibly longer, since Goldsboro had had a fatality in a fire.

Although the captain said he did not believe arson would be determined to be the cause of the blaze, he said firefighters were suspicious about something.

"Any time there's a fire and you have any thought that something might be wrong, and you want to investigate, that's what you're going to do," Patterson said, referring to calling the State Bureau of Investigation in for assistance.

A brother of one of the victims approached firefighters about 15 minutes after they started fighting the fire, the captain said.

"He (the brother) also mentioned that they had space heaters, and he mentioned a wire being frayed on one of the heaters," Patterson said.

Both the man and woman were also smokers, but the cause of the fire is still undetermined, the captain said.

"The only thing I can do at this point is speculate," he said.