Local News

Cary Police Investigate Fatal Fire

Posted July 5, 2003

— The holiday weekend took a somber turn in Cary, where police were investigating a house fire just east of downtown.

A man identified as John Jablonski died in the Friday night blaze, which left the triplex a total loss. Police are trying to determine how the fire started.

One of the men who lived in the center unit told his landlord he was mowing the front lawn Friday night when he heard an explosion. He said he tried to go inside and get his roommate out -- but couldn't.

Around 8 p.m., a red glow lit up the sky on Waldo Street. It wasn't from a fireworks show, but from the roaring flames coming from the apartment unit where Jablonski lived.

Jablonski went by the nicknames Little John and Plumber John. His landlord said Jablonski was a loner but was sweet to everyone he knew.

"The unit is not important to me right now; I haven't thought about that," he said. "Losing a person is horrible.

John will be very much missed by me and all the people who knew him."

James Hawley, a friend of Jablonski's, could only watch as investigators examined charred items from inside the triplex. He wants to know what happened.

Investigators said Saturday that it was still too early to tell whether the fire was arson or accidental.

Two Cary firefighters who battled the fire Friday night were taken to the hospital with symptoms of heat exhaustion. They were both back home Saturday and said to be doing fine.

The Red Cross has put the other families who lived at the triplex up in a local hotel.

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