Sunday morning started as every other day for Sherry Bostic. A house fire just across the street later in the evening would change everything.
Sampson County fire and law enforcement officials responded to a house fire call Sunday evening at 100 Irvin Road, Autryville, that claimed the life of the one resident of the home.
Bostic, who lives just across the street, has identified the victim as Sheryl Jackson, her sister-in-law. Bostic also served as Jackson’s caregiver.
Around 8:26 p.m. Sunday, the Sampson County 911 Center received the report of the house fire, located off Welcome School Road in the Clement community. According to Sheriff’s reports, fire departments from Autryville, Bethany, Clement, Herring, Stedman, Spivey’s Corner and Salemburg responded to the fire. In addition to the fire department, reports indicated Sampson County EMS and the Clement Rescue Squad also responded.
Neighbors were the ones who called the report in to officials.
Bostic, who talked with The Sampson Independent from Jackson’s yard Monday morning following the fire, said a neighbor stopped at her house just before 8:30 p.m., saying the rear corner of the house was on fire.
Bostic and her husband ran out of their house and tried to get into Jackson’s home to save her, but the caregiver said it was too late.
“The fire was pretty much contained to her bedroom,” Bostic said Monday as she stood outside the home, where the smell of smoke was still fresh. “We tried to get her out, but there was no way we could.”
Officials have not released the cause of the fire, but Bostic believes it could be one of three possibilities. At the time, there was a storm in the area, so lightning is one thought in her mind. The fire could be electrical in nature, or Bostic added, Jackson was on oxygen and a smoker.
Investigators from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the Sampson County Fire Marshal’s Office were on the scene late into the night and again Monday morning to process the scene for evidence. Although there are no indicators of foul play, the exact cause is still under investigation.
Bostic said when she and her husband got to the house, they didn’t hear any type of pleas for help, leading her to believe what officials have told her, that Jackson died within a matter of minutes from smoke inhalation. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
According to Bostic, officials from the Sheriff’s department are planning to notify the next of kin, which Bostic said is a sister. However, Bostic was Jackson’s daily caregiver.
“I came over yesterday morning, just like I always do,” Bostic said. “I fixed her some ice water and told her to let me know if she needed anything.”
Jackson, according to Bostic, had plans to rest Sunday. That was the last time the two spoke.
“It’s hard to believe this,” Bostic said. “I know now though that she is at peace.”
Sampson County was hit by a deadly house fire Labor Day weekend last year. A mobile home in Garland suffered a deadly fire, killing all those in the home at the time. A total of six lives were claimed in the incident.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.