Fire rekindles at Wake Forest home where 86-year-old woman, son killed Tuesday

Wake County News

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) – A fire that destroyed the front of a Wake Forest home and killed an 86-year-old woman and her son rekindled on Wednesday morning and burned down the rest of the home, according to fire officials.

A police officer was watching the home and noticed flames around 3 a.m. An officer was watching the home to make sure no one would go in the house and take anything out. While the officer was watching, the fire rekindled.

The initial fire started at the home Tuesday at  3:20 a.m. in the 400-block of E. Walnut Street. Crews arrived and were met with heavy smoke and fire on the front porch and the first two rooms of the home, officials said.

Fire crews on the scene pulled an unconscious man and woman from the home. The man was immediately rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, officials said. The woman was found in critical condition and was being treated at the scene before she was eventually rushed to the hospital around 5 a.m. Fire officials told CBS 17 around 6:25 a.m. that the woman had died from her injuries.

The woman was identified by family members as Ella Virginia Smith, 86. The man found inside her home was her son, 69-year-old Lawrence Williams.

Williams was revived at the scene and then rushed to the hospital with serious injuries, fire officials said. He was in and out of consciousness on Tuesday, family members told CBS 17. Fire officials told CBS 17 Wednesday morning that Williams had died Tuesday afternoon.

Multiple attempts were made to revive Smith at the scene before she was transported to the hospital where she later died, according to authorities.

The Wake Forest Fire Department Battalion Chief on duty Wednesday morning said he’s not sure how the fire rekindled. 

“It’s calm as can be out here,” he told CBS 17. Winds were not blowing in the area on Wednesday morning.  When fire crews arrived this morning the fire was fully involved again.

Now firefighters are using their thermal imaging camera to find the hot spots. They’re using the ladder truck to attack those hot spots from above. The home is destroyed and officials said if there were any valuables or items to salvage those are now gone.

On Tuesday, multiple agencies were at the scene investigating the fire including the ATF, Wake County Fire Marshal, and Wake Forest fire and police departments.

Fire investigators were at the home until 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Fire crews will be back Wednesday morning when day breaks.

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