Willow Spring, N.C. — Johnston County authorities identified a man killed in a house fire Saturday in Willow Spring as 66-year-old Ronnie Barfield Myers.
Myers' wife also lived at 211 Axum Road, but she wasn't home when the fire broke out around 8:40 p.m., said Tammy Amaon, a spokeswoman for the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.
Myers was a generous man and well-liked in the community, said Chief Nathan Burgess, of the 50-210 Community Fire Department.
"If you had a frown on your face, after you talked to him, you had a smile. He just brightened your day like that," said Burgess, an acquaintance of Myers.
A neighbor said she often saw Myers outside walking a dog. Firefighters pulled that dog from the fire, but he later died. Myers' cat died the night of the fire.
Myers was a good Samaritan who would give a stranger the shirt off his back, Burgess said.
Amaon said the cause of Myers' death had not been determined. Burgess said foul play was not suspected in the fire.
Firefighters found Myers already dead and heavy smoke pouring from the house when they arrived, the fire chief said. Crews contained the blaze to the living room.
Witnesses told fire officials that a crowd gathered outside the fire, and at least one person tried to save Myers but was beaten back by the flames.