Local News

5-year-old Fayetteville boy dies after rescue from duplex fire

Posted May 22, 2014

— An early-morning house fire claimed the life of a 5-year-old Fayetteville boy Thursday, sent some of his stepbrothers and stepsisters to a hospital and left family members and friends grieving their loss.

Firefighters responding to 225 Old Shaw Road around 1:15 a.m. had to enter the 1,000-square-foot duplex, which was engulfed in flames, to rescue the boy, Zion Lilly. He died from smoke inhalation at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Robert Edmond Jr., the father of two of the children, said he tried to save Zion but the smoke and flames became too much for him to handle.

"I can't take it now, but I (didn't) have no choice," said Edmond, who was recovering at Cape Fear Valley on Thursday afternoon. "It's done, but I didn't mean to leave him in that fire like that."

Edmond said he was taking a nap in his car when Zion's 15-year-old stepbrother, Keyshawn Deberry, -- one of the six children in the home -- woke him up and told him about the fire.

"I jumped out the car, looked and seen flames coming out a couple of windows on the side and roof," he said. "So, I just went and bust the window out and tried to find everybody I could find."

Deberry and Azianna Harris, 13, were able to get out safely, and Edmond was able to save his 2- and 3-year-old sons, Isaiah and Robert III, as well as their 9-year-old sister, Carnise Shepard.

Carnise, family members said, was recovering Thursday night from smoke inhalation at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Isaiah Edmond and Robert Edmond III were treated at Cape Fear Valley and later released.

Family friend Valerie Lindsey, who also lives in the duplex, said she sees the children and their mother, Latonya Deberry, every day.

"My son and her son are best friends. My daughter and her daughter are best friends. Me and her are good friends, and we are there for one another always," Lindsey said. "This hurt me so bad, because I see them every day."

Rasheed Phillips, who lives nearby, said he called 911 before trying to help Edmond.

"We was breaking the window. We thought (Zion) was in the back, but he was right (in the living room)," Phillips said. "That's where the firefighters found him."

Authorities are still investigating the fire but think it might have started near a stove.

The wood-framed duplex did not have smoke detectors, fire officials said, but the duplex's owner, Gail Martin, said two were installed last year when the kitchen was remodeled.

Investigators are still working to find out how the fire started.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Linda Kerns Kellogg May 22, 2014
    user avatar

    cute little boy, this is so sad for him and his grieving family. I hope the other children and adult heal from their injuries soon.

  • Doseofreality88 May 22, 2014

    God bless the family during this difficult time. Those questioning where the parents were, hush. It clearly states in the article there was an adult. Some people can't wait to find fault, even in a tragedy.

  • Thomas Hannan May 22, 2014
    user avatar

    TIMETOGO - "No mention of an adult. 5 children by themselves @ 1 AM?"

    "Three other children – a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 9-year-old – and an adult were also taken to the hospital."

    "...said he called 911 before trying to help the father of the children inside the duplex escape."

    "Two adults and seven children were inside when the blaze started."

    It couldn't be ANY clearer nor any clearer that you are a judgmental horse's backside.

  • MindBomb May 22, 2014

    If you do not have smoke detectors, go to your local fire department and they will usually give you one for free. They are not that expensive, but I know there are people who can't afford them. I read too many stories about fire deaths due to not having a smoke detector/working smoke detector.

  • mcorson2 May 22, 2014

    prayers to the Family, May you rest in peace zion. such a cute little angel...

  • dwr1964 May 22, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Three other children – a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 9-year-old – and an adult were also taken to the hospital.

    It was pretty plain to me that an adult was there, but who am I to make you read?

  • passport May 22, 2014

    so sad! deepest sympathies.

  • sunshine1040 May 22, 2014

    current story does say an adult was taken to the hospital but does not say if they were all family or id parents of children were even there.

  • Lori Duke May 22, 2014
    user avatar

    TIMETOGO: The story says "and an adult were also taken to the hospital".

  • 27615 May 22, 2014