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Heroic efforts saved family from fire at historic Edgecombe home

Posted December 27, 2011

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— 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.

Man recounts minutes in house fire Man recounts minutes in house fire

"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.


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  • pinball wizard Dec 28, 2011

    In the video, Mr. Fryar states that the smoke alarm was what woke the niece. Also, they used the fire escape. Glad they made it out and I hope for a full recovery.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Dec 28, 2011

    Glad they all got out. That's no small feat with such a large house and additional people staying there. It's not like anyone has a fire drill when they have extended family over.

  • mfarmer1 Dec 28, 2011

    did you notice the fire places were close to the fire?

    i hope it was insured

  • sabby06 Dec 27, 2011

    glad to hear they were able to get out.. praying for a speedy recovery one for the one hurt

  • vraptor Dec 27, 2011

    No fire alarms??? I am glad they got out.

    If you do not have fire alarms. Please get some. And wear your seat belt.