02/04/10 — Investigation continues into fire death

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Investigation continues into fire death

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on February 4, 2010 1:46 PM

Authorities have not yet released the name of a person found dead in a Tuesday evening fire at a South Georgia Avenue boarding home, as investigators probe the case further.

An autopsy is scheduled for the man who found dead at 109 S. Georgia Ave., Goldsboro police spokesman Sgt. Chad Calloway said.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting a joint probe into the fire with city fire and police representatives, the sergeant said.

Although authorities have at least some of the names of the boarding home's seven occupants, identification of the body has proven difficult, Calloway said.

DNA cannot be used to identify the man, at least at this point in the investigation, because authorities do not have a genetic sample to compare, Calloway said.

However, police are hopeful that some information they received on Wednesday might help identify the fire victim, the sergeant said.

"We do have an avenue that we're checking out, hopefully today, and we'll see what it brings," Calloway said early this morning.

Authorities have also declined to say whether the fire could have been arson, although investigators have not ruled it out.

Fire Chief Gary Whaley said Wednesday the damage to the boarding home was too severe to quickly determine where the fire might have started. Fire investigators also have not released a possible cause.

Whaley was unavailable for further comment early this morning.

The fire was first reported just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Whaley said 80 percent of the two-story wooden house was already engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived about five minutes after receiving the alarm call.