Kerosene heater blamed for fatal Halifax fire
Posted November 2, 2011
Scotland Neck, N.C. — Investigators in Halifax County believe a house fire that killed a 79-year-old Scotland Neck woman early Wednesday was caused by a portable kerosene heater.
Scotland Neck Fire Chief Patrick Stanton said Ella Lynch died in the fire at 502 E. Eighth St. Firefighters found Lynch's body in a bathroom at the rear of the house.
Family members said they heard Lynch, who lived alone, yelling for help but that they were unable to get into her home.
"I told her about that heater," daughter Patricia Lynch, who lives next door, said. "I told her to leave that heater alone."
Patricia Lynch said she had checked on her mother Tuesday evening before bed and that the heater was not on.
Firefighters were called to the home around 5:20 a.m., where witnesses described "explosive flames."
Lynch's death is the first from a fire in six years, Stanton said.
The medical examiner at Halifax Memorial Hospital will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of her death.