LAKE WACCAMAW, N.C. (WNCN) — A married father of three who was the president of the Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina died in a house fire over the weekend, officials said.
The incident was reported early Saturday in the town of Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County, according to Brandy Nance, the chief of Lake Waccamaw Fire and Rescue.
Fire crews were dispatched to the home on Canal Road around 1 a.m. and managed to put out the blaze at the single-story home, she said.
After the fire was out, crews found a man dead inside, Nance said. He was later identified as Ricky Creech, who lived at the home, the fire chief said.
“Our condolences from Lake Waccamaw Fire and Rescue and the town of Lake Waccamaw go to the Boys and Girls Home and the family of Ricky Creech,” Nance told CBS 17.
Two of the family’s dogs — Zara and Kiawah — also died in the fire, officials and the family said.
Creech, who worked for the non-profit for nearly two years, leaves behind three daughters.
The family released a short statement Sunday that said, in part, “we are truly grateful for all the kind words and tributes we have seen and heard over the past 24 hours of my dad, Ricky Creech. We are heartbroken and soaking up all this love.”
The fire is under investigation, but Nance said there did not appear to be foul play.
An ordained minister, Creech was hired as president of Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina in October 2020, according to the organization’s website.
“President Creech’s fearless leadership and passion for the youth and families in our care will be sorely missed,” Board Chairman Dave Wyatt said in a news release Sunday. “We keep his family in our prayers. We know that the children served by BGHNC were his priority and he would want the work to continue. We believe Ray is the right choice for the mission at this time.”
Before taking the position, Creech was the executive director for the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and the executive director of the Birmingham Baptist Association.
Creech was also a graduate of the South Carolina Fire Academy and he received his Associate of Arts degree from North Greenville University and his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Furman University. He held a Certificate in Theology and a Masters in Social Work from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Funeral plans have not been announced.
Ray Cockrell has been chosen as the temporary acting president of the organization, which was founded in 1954.