Newton Grove, N.C. — A mobile-home fire that killed a 74-year-old man near the Johnston-Wayne County line remained under investigation late Sunday.
Callers told Johnston County dispatchers about a structure fire at 453 Almon Road, off Harper House Road, north of Newton Grove, shortly after 12:30 p.m. Firefighters rushed to the scene, but neighbors were the first to arrive at the mobile home, where Bobby Sutton lived.
Neighbor Paul Dunn, 19, said he saw the smoke and flames. "The house was flaming bad,” he said, and Dunn rushed over.
“I called him, ‘Mr. Sutton, Mr. Sutton,’ and he didn't respond. So I knew then that I had to try and get him out,” neighbor Danny Peacock said.
Peacock said Sutton was home alone when the fire started. Peacock said he and Dunn tried to force the front door open, but Sutton's body blocked the entrance.
"I had him by his ankle, and I couldn't get him out. I felt like that if I could have gotten him out and given him CPR, I felt like that maybe I could have save him,” Peacock said.
However, Peacock said, Sutton's other leg was trapped behind a sofa.
“I felt bad, because he was, like, right there. You think you could have got him out," Dunn said.
Peacock says Sutton lived in the mobile home with a female companion. She was not home at the time of the fire. They had a dog, and it was not known yet whether the animal had escaped the blaze.
Investigators spent hours Sunday sifting through the ashes trying to determine what started the fire. The official cause had not been released Sunday evening.