First Sampson fire fatality in over a year

Last updated: March 24. 2014 2:58PM - 2143 Views
By - smatthews@civitasmedia.com

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A 77-year-old Sampson County man was killed late Sunday night when fire engulfed the home he and his brother were living in on Reedsford Road.

Hurbert Frank Underwood, of 2430 Reedsford Road, died at the scene; his brother, Freeman Coleman, 70, of the same address, was able to escape the burning home without injury.

The two-story wooden-framed home, estimated to be around 100 years old, was gutted by the blaze.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after 10 p.m. Sunday after a neighbor reportedly phoned the incident in to the E911 Center.

Both men, said county fire marshal Jerry Cashwell, were in the home when the fire erupted.

“Mr. Coleman was going back to his brother’s bedroom when smoked stopped him,” Cashwell noted of how the fire was discovered. “He was able to get out another door in the residence.”

The blaze reportedly started in Underwood’s downstairs bedroom and the elderly man was unable to get out of the residence.

In describing the home, located at the corner of Reedsford Road and Billy Lane just outside of Clinton’s city limits, Cashwell noted that the structure had changed over the years, and had once been a store. There were three bedrooms downstairs and a couple more upstairs in the wood-framed structure.

Both brothers reportedly had bedrooms on the first level of the structure.

Firefighters from Clinton, Taylors Bridge, Turkey, Garland and Harrells responded to the fire call and battled the blaze for several hours. Cashwell remained on scene until after 6 a.m. Monday.

“There was nothing suspicious about this fire,” Cashwell noted. “It was just a very, very unfortunate incident.”

An investigation into the blaze, he said, was ongoing to determine the actual cause of the fire.

Sunday night’s fire fatality was the first in Sampson County in well over a year.

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