AUTRYVILLE — Sampson County authorities are investigating a suspicious structure fire on Leroy Autry Road after receiving an emergency call from two burn victims at a residence several miles away just moments before the blaze was reported.
Around 5:20 a.m. Monday, a structure fire was reported at 1920 Leroy Autry Road, Autryville, an address located in close proximity to Minnie-Hall Road in western Sampson.
Fire departments from Autryville, Salemburg, Roseboro, Clement, Stedman and Herring responded along with Roseboro Rescue and Sampson County EMS to the fire. The home, located several hundred feet down a dirt path off Leroy Autry Road, was gutted by the flames and smoke was still billowing from the charred remains as local authorities investigated well into the afternoon Monday.
“The nature of the fire is suspicious … and currently under investigation by the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and the Sampson County Fire Marshal,” Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope said.
All inquiries made to the Fire Marshal’s Office were referred to Pope.
The sheriff’s captain noted that, prior to the report of the structure fire, Sampson County EMS was dispatched to 2312 South River Road, Autryville, following a call of two burn victims at the residence. A male and a female who sheriff’s authorities said had “ties to the Leroy Autry Road address” were transported by EMS for severe burns. South River Road is located further west down Minnie-Hall Road, close to the Cumberland County line.
The names of the burn victims were withheld early Monday but were later in the day confirmed by Pope as Jimmy Delton Butler Jr. and Kimberly Huff, found shortly after 5 a.m. on South River Road after their 911 call. Both Butler and Huff were reportedly airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where they were being treated at the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center.
A search in Sampson County GIS noted Jimmy Delton Butler Jr. as the property owner at 1920 Leroy Autry Road.
The investigation into both incidents is ongoing.
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