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Hope Mills rallies behind family devastated by house fire

Posted March 13, 2012
Updated March 14, 2012

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— A funeral will be held Thursday for a Fort Bragg soldier and his two daughters who died in a house fire last week.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Duane Cantrell, 36, died March 6 when he rushed back into his burning home in Hope Mills to try to rescue his daughters, 6-year-old Isabella and 4-year-old Natalia.

The only survivor of the fire, which authorities said was accidental, was his wife and the girls' mother, Louise Cantrell, 37.

Edward Cantrell is also survived by a 13-year-old son from a previous marriage, Stephen Kenneth Cantrell, who lives in Cumberland County with his mother.

The Hope Mills community is rallying around Louise Cantrell in a show of support. The Club Hellas restaurant plans to host a fundraising barbecue on March 24 that will feature raffle drawings.

"When my friend told me about what happened, I was, like, 'Wow.' My eyes started watering," restaurant owner Louis Frangos said Tuesday.

"I think it's hit everybody in the community hard," Frangos said. "I mean, what if it were me?"

He said his heart goes out to Louise Cantrell.

“One day, she has a family, going out to eat. The next day, she’s sitting there, (thinking) ‘What do I do?'"

Town mourns for soldier, daughters killed in fire Town mourns for soldier, daughters killed in fire

“You couldn’t describe how it felt. You were just shocked for the whole family," said Michelle Muffett, who works at Sammio's restaurant.

Muffett said she remembers the young girls eating at Sammio's.

"They were adorable," she said. "They would talk about each other all the time. They would tell us about the other girl if she wasn't here, or if they were together, they'd play together."

Visitation will be held 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, with the funeral at 1 p.m. Thursday at JFK Memorial Chapel on Fort Bragg.

The three will be buried together in Arlington National Cemetery next Monday.

Edward Cantrell, a recipient of four Bronze Star medals and a Purple Heart, served with the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg. He recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan.

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  • CharmedLife Mar 13, 2012

    Oh wow! This has really gotten out of hand in here! Why are you all arguing when the bottom line is a family has lost 3 of their family members?! Let's get back to what's important here and quick nit-picking at who don't want who's name in the article and why! Thanks and God Bless! :-)

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Mar 13, 2012

    Such a tragedy. Praying for all that mourn.

  • 2gurlz2boyzMom Mar 13, 2012

    funbnamomeof2 - did u make sure it was okay with the family of the son before mentioning him. did his mom want this info publicized? hmmmm

  • michelehoward37 Mar 13, 2012

    Put yourself in this young boy's shoes. You have just lost your Father and your two sisters and your reading an article about them. There is no mention of the child left behind............:( We should all continue to pray for Kenny and all the family involved in this tragic loss. I don't know Kenny that well but some of his family are members of our church. I am sure his dad was very proud of him.

  • abravesfan13 Mar 13, 2012

    Yes, there is a son and yes, he is a fine young man. Let's just try to remember that he is affected by this as well. I am not sure why the story didn't mention him; maybe because he did not reside there; but I know for sure one group of fine folks who are praying for him and this soldier's wife, and other family members affected. It is a sad story and we will continue to bathe them all in prayer.

  • imsosorry Mar 13, 2012

    way to go avontammy ! yeah funbnamomeof2 way to make it known there are others that are involved.

  • avontammy Mar 13, 2012

    Prayers going up for the wife and son. Thank you to funbnamomeof2 for reminding us that there are others out there that may be mourning the loss of this hero.

  • imsosorry Mar 13, 2012

    No one said a name had to be mentioned. And I suppose you are assuming why his name was left out also, and we all know what that means........

  • robbincasino Mar 13, 2012

    Did anyone who posted about this gentleman having a son from a previous relationship ever consider maybe the mother didn't want her son's name mention to protect him from anymore hurt? IMSOSORRY, you are just assuming that the son was left out due to selfish reason's , and we all know what assume means.

  • imsosorry Mar 13, 2012

    I didnt see where funbnamomeof2 said anything sarcastic or smart. She was just stating that the article left out an important part of this mans life and everyone should pray for him also. It is a shame some people have to find a problem with everything. RIP soldier and little ones and pray for the ones left behind, EVERYONE that was left behind.

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