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Electrical short might have caused Onslow house fire

Posted February 24, 2012

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— An electrical short in the kitchen of an Onslow County house might have sparked a Thursday morning fire that killed three children, authorities said Friday.

The fire at the home at 2124 Wilmington Highway, in the Verona community south of Jacksonville, also injured four other children and their mother.

Tabitha Pittman, 12, and two younger brothers, Elijah, 9, and Gabriel, 7, were found dead in the living room, and authorities said all three had been overcome by smoke.

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Pittman and 14-year-old twins Adrienne and Gabrielle Pittman were in good condition Friday at New Hanover Regional Hospital in Wilmington after being treated for injuries they suffered in escaping the fire.

Authorities said the twins jumped from a second-story window to escape the fire. Family friends said one girl tossed their 4-year-old brother, Jonathan, down to the other before jumping.

Authorities mistakenly said earlier Friday that the three girls had been released.

An eighth sibling, 10-year-old Hannah Pittman remains in the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. She had third-degree burns on her arms, face and back, but her condition is unknown.

The children's mother, Johnetta Pittman, was treated for smoke inhalation Thursday, but she was under observation at UNC Hospitals after experiencing breathing problems Friday.


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  • westernwake1 Feb 24, 2012

    So painful. My prayers go out to this family.

  • familytime Feb 24, 2012

    May the Lord comfort this family. What an awful tragedy to endure! What a blessing the twins were able to save their brother. I just can't even imagine the pain they are all suffering.

  • North Carolina Cutie Feb 24, 2012

    Prayers go out to the families.