Authorities not ruling out arson in fatal Oxford house fire
Posted May 30
Oxford, N.C. — Police are not ruling out the possibility that a crime may have been committed when four people were found dead following a Sunday morning house fire in Oxford.
The Oxford police chief did not say if there is a suspect or person of interest in the case, but he said there was a fifth person who lived inside the home, and police are interested in speaking with that man.
A growing memorial sits outside the charred home on Rectory Street where four people, who neighbors said were members of a tight-knit family, were found dead.
The bodies were found in the middle section of the 1,700-square-foot house, with two in a bathroom and two in a bedroom, Fire Chief David Cottrel said.
Several neighbors saw the fire and called 911 for help, and one described the home as “fully engulfed” in flames.
Cottrel said the home did not have smoke detectors.
Two separate investigations by Oxford police and the Oxford Fire Department are underway.
“We’re taking our time to make sure it’s done right,” Cottrel said. “We want to make sure that we approach it systematically and make sure that our conclusion is the right conclusion.”
Cottrel said samples from “areas of suspicion” have been sent to state labs for testing.
“We’re at the convenience of the state at this point. We send it to the state lab, and they send us the results back,” he said.
The four bodies have been sent to the state medical examiner, who will determine the causes of death.
Cottrel said firefighters were expected to gather Tuesday night at the fire station to discuss the fire, and counseling will be available.