Heroic efforts saved family from fire at historic Edgecombe home
Posted December 27, 2011
Tarboro, N.C. — The Fryar family is lucky to be alive after fire ripped through a historic home in Leggett where they lay sleeping after a Christmas celebration.
All 12 people survived the fire Monday at 3848 N.C. Highway 33, west of Tarboro, thanks to the heroic efforts of a few of the family members, according to authorities.
The home – known as the Arthur Fountain House – was destroyed.
"I am so happy to be here," Matthew Fryar said Tuesday.
To survive, he ran through the flames, burning his feet badly.
"It was like a flame thrower," Fryar said. He described seeing pieces of his parents' home crumble around him as they were consumed in flame.
"There were flames running up the walls. Flames were at eye level at that point," he said. "Plaster was breaking loose in chunks."
Four adults and two children were taken to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, for treatment. Some will need skin grafts, but all are expected to survive. They were in fair condition Tuesday.
Everyone was asleep when Fryar's second cousin, Chelsea Carraway, awoke and alerted the others. The college student went to the top floor to rescue a 7-year-old boy. Both she and the boy suffered burns.
Fryar described how he found his 11-year-old niece in the smoke-filled den. "The smoke was already thick in there," he said. "It was absolutely unreal."
The family had used the fireplace on Christmas Day, Fryar said. "I stayed up to make sure it was out."
Investigators have not yet determined a cause of the fire.
The home was listed with Preservation North Carolina as "a classic revival mansion." It was on the market for almost $400,000. The 5,400-square-foot home was built in 1918.