Local News

Elderly couple killed in Granville County house fire

Posted April 22, 2014

— A husband and wife who had been married more than 60 years died early Tuesday after fire ripped through their home on Hester Road in Granville County, officials said.

Fire crews responded to the home, which is north of Creedmoor near Stem, at about 2 a.m. after receiving a call from a passer-by.

Madelene Long, 77, was unable to escape the fire and died in the home. Her husband, 88-year-old Sam Long, was taken to Granville Medical Center, where he later died.

Sam Long was pulled from the home by a man who stopped after seeing the flames and calling 911, officials said.

Investigators said the couple were the only people inside the home when the blaze started. The couple's son, Royal Long, said his mother had been battling lung cancer.

“I’m sad in a way because I miss them, but I kind of feel like they are together wherever they’re at,” he said. “I want to believe they went to heaven. And I believe they are going to be hand in hand, as they were here on Earth.”

Foul play is not expected, but officials said they were unsure what caused the blaze. The majority of the damage was in the front of the home.

"The fire had a good head start. When we arrived on scene it has been burning for a while," said Chase Parrott, assistant chief of the Stem Fire Department. "We are going to be looking toward a front room in this house. That's where the most fire activity was when we arrived, and that fire was in pretty advanced stages when we arrived."

Trecie Santiago was with her son and nephew on Hester Road when they saw the blaze and stopped to help.

She said they broke a window, and black smoke poured out.

"I went around the back of the house," Santiago said. "I could hear some muffled sounds. I called them around there, and that's when the elderly man was laying there on the floor and we pulled him out."

The couple moved into the home six or seven years ago after a fire destroyed their previous home.

"I'm really at a loss for words right now. Any time you lose somebody in your community, whether you know them or not, it's a sense that everybody loses," Parrott said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • 678devilish Apr 23, 2014

    A tragedy indeed. My heart goes out to their family and friends. May God/Jesus bring all of you comfort and peace in the days ahead. Keep their memories for they are precious. All of you are in my prayers.

  • defstitch Apr 22, 2014

    Arson was the first thing in mind when I saw this in Granville County! Especially when is is right around the corner from a house on Tar River that was investigated for arson a few years back because it was burned 2 weeks before I was about to purchase it! I have also noticed multiple old (possibly historic) houses that have been burned very close to this area! Kids!? A shame to see great old houses turn to ashes instead of being restored into beautiful family homes. Where is the appreciation in Granville??

  • MindBomb Apr 22, 2014

    A family loses 2 loved ones and you want to bring up arson, possibly done by a family member? Doesn't seem like now is the time to bring either up, not to mention there is no basis for such an accusation. Seems as if any time a crime etc occurs, so many people on here are quick to play detective. Stop watching so many crime related shows.

  • gopack10 Apr 22, 2014

    No, I have known this family my entire life. It was an old house with wood burning as its heat source and still using the heat at night to take off the chill. Both houses were older and arson is absolutely not a possibility. Sweet couple with caring children just a tragic event that unfortunately cost them their lives. I hope they are strolling the streets of heaven hand in hand on this day.

  • Fred Garner Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    How do you glean "arson" from "we're looking at a front room in house as the possible origin" and "this is the second home the couple has had destroyed by fire".

    Give it a rest! Let the family bury their loved ones and grieve. And leave it the professionals to decide IF there was any foul play. And I highly doubt it.

  • Bear2013 Apr 22, 2014

    Not to accuse anybody, but could this be arson, possibly by a family member? This fire began in the front of the house at 2 am, and it's the 2nd time that this same couple had a home burn. Unfortunately, they could not escape this one, despite the efforts of good people in the area. It's so sad to have a long married life end in this way.

  • RDcallsit Apr 22, 2014

    kbird, not the time for random sarcasm... surely unintentional, but ease up there cowboy.

  • justabumer Apr 22, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Did you not read the article? It stated that the person who called 911 also pulled the gentleman from the fire.

  • Kelly Birdsall Apr 22, 2014
    user avatar

    I certainly hope the "passer by" did more than just pass by & call 911, especially if the fire was not advanced at that point.

  • evadbbat Apr 22, 2014

    May they rest in peace.