Two Killed, Three Injured in Vance County House Fire
Posted October 20, 1997
TOWNSVILLE — Two teenagers were killed and three other people injured in an early morning house fire Monday in northern Vance County, Sheriff Thomas Breedlove said.
Killed were Oliver Darden, 14, and Susie Ann Alston, 12. Three other people were injured, two with severe burns. Eight-year-old Saha Darden, 49-year-old Johnny Darden and 25-year-old Zane Alston are being treated for burns at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
Breedlove said the fire started about 4:30 a.m. in a room where a couch was placed near a woodstove. There were 10 people in the house when the fire started, five of whom escaped without any injury, he said. The wood-frame house is located at 159 Tungsten Mine Road near the Virginia state line.
Fire Capt. Darren Small said fire crews were on the scene within about four minutes of receiving the call. When firefighters arrived, the two-story house was fully involved.
"We knew when the call came in that it was going to be bad," Small told WRAL's Kelly Wright.
A man tried at least a couple times to go into the house to rescue his children, who were on the second floor, but heavy smoke and flames thwarted his attempts.
The State Bureau of Investigation also has joined in the investigation of the fire.