Local News

Child hurt in Roanoke Rapids fire dies

Posted December 4, 2014
Updated December 7, 2014

Two people were killed in a Dec. 3, 2014, fire at a home on Davie School Road near Roanoke Rapids. (Photo by Kathryn Brown)

— A 3-year-old who was found unconscious in a Halifax County house fire early Wednesday has died, authorities said Thursday.

Caleb Ponton died at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he had been in critical condition following the fire at 981 Davie School Road, near Roanoke Rapids.

Investigators haven't determined the cause of the fire but said it started in the kitchen of the home, which is owned by Caleb's great-aunt and great-uncle, Joyce and Ernest Williams. The couple had been caring for the child.

Firefighters found Caleb trapped in his bedroom and were able to resuscitate him before getting him to a local hospital.

Joyce Williams, 66, managed to get out of the house but remains hospitalized at the burn center in critical condition.

Ernest Williams, 67, and Joyce Williams' sister, Dora Patterson, 63, who was visiting from Rockingham, both died in the fire.

The family has set up an address where anyone can send a donation to help the family:

CCB (Citizens Community Bank)
778 Old Farm Road South
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. 27870

To inquire about the fund, call the bank at 252-537-1265 and ask about the "Joyce and Ernest Williams fundraiser account" to donate money. Make checks/money orders payable to "Joyce and Ernest Williams Fundraiser Account" to send by mail.


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  • Wiser_now Dec 4, 2014

    Rest in Peace, little sweetie.

  • 678devilish Dec 4, 2014

    My condolences to the family and friends. May God continue to be with all of you in the days ahead. All of you are in my prayers.

  • Naysayer Dec 4, 2014

    This is heartbreaking.

  • twoboysandadog Dec 4, 2014

    So terribly sad. Prayers for the family and the little angel now in heaven.

    As for the reporters and WRAL-LEAVE this family alone. They don't need to have you hanging around their home to try to get a story. They are sad and are in shock of their loss. GO AWAY!!!!

  • Cabe Merritt Dec 4, 2014
    user avatar

    Very sad story. I wonder why the child was not with his parents?

  • fanoflogic Dec 4, 2014

    So very sad.:( Thoughts go out to the family during this horrible time.

  • Sandra Elizabeth Dec 4, 2014
    user avatar

    Sweet little angel. This is too heartbreaking.

  • wlbbjb Dec 4, 2014

    Prayers for his family. He will never suffer again. He is with the angels.