Mother, 2 children die in Fayetteville house fire, 4 escape, family says

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A mother and her two children are confirmed dead after a house fire in Fayetteville Thursday morning.

Officials say the fire call went out shortly after 2 a.m. When the Fayetteville Fire Department arrived on scene at the home in the 6400-block of Portsmouth Drive, heavy flames were showing from the single-story home with people trapped inside.

Nine trucks and 25 firefighters responded to the scene, according to officials. It took 45 minutes to get the fire under control. Once under control, crews shifted from fire suppression mode to fire investigation mode.

Firefighters located three deceased victims inside after searching the house. Four people escaped the fire and were found outside in the yard when crews arrived on the scene, according to a family member. One person was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The others were not injured, officials said.

A family member told CBS 17 that a mother, Amelia Jones, 30, and her two sons, ages 5 and 9, died in the fire. The woman told police those inside the house were her cousins.

Both the fire and police departments responded to the fire and are currently investigating what caused the fire. The State Fire Marshals Office, State Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting with the investigation.

As part of the investigation, the agencies will interview witnesses and conduct neighborhood canvassing, officials said.

The family members who spoke to CBS 17 said the fire was started by a kerosene heater.

Fayetteville Fire Chief Mike Hill said scenes like this are difficult for firefighters to take in.

“We are always extremely proud of our firefighters. They’re always on the front lines and this will hit them hard,” he said. “We have our own ways to cope but it’s something that never goes away.”

Fayetteville Fire Department Fire Marshal TJ McLamb said the department sees the loss of life as their own failure.

“Anytime we lose a life it’s very difficult. We see this as a failure on our part. In 2019 we had zero fire fatalities,” he said. “So this is very difficult for us and it takes a toll on the first responders, not to mention what we are all dealing with with the coronavirus.”

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