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Nash County house fire burns woman

Posted August 10, 2009
Updated October 19, 2009

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— Firefighters are investigating after a Nash County woman was injured while fleeing a house fire Monday evening.

The house at the intersection of N.C. Highway 97 and Halifax Road, near Sharpsburg, caught fire at about 7:30 p.m.

Investigators look for cause of Nash County house fire Investigators look for cause of Nash County house fire

A woman, identified by neighbors and relatives as Michele Allen, was badly burned while escaping the flames, investigators said.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion before seeing the flames.

"It was pretty loud, something exploded," witness Terri Webb said.

"The front of the house was blown out," witness T.J. House said.

Witnesses said Allen's hair and clothes were on fire.

"She was just saying, 'Help me, help me,'" Webb said.

Webb ran to help 36-year-old Allen, who had only lived in the rented house for a few days.

"I don't know. I was just scared. I did not have a towel or anything. I just rolled her until she stopped burning,” Webb said.

"She (Webb) was rolling her down the driveway,” House said.

Allen was transported by helicopter to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for treatment of second- and third-degree burns. She was listed in critical condition Wednesday.

The home was owned by Rachel Whitley, according to county property records. Neighbors said Whitley is in her 70s. Her husband, 89-year-old Aaron Whitley, is the owner of Witco Pest Control, which is located near the house.

The fire was extinguished and the cause was determined Tuesday to be a liquid propane leak.


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  • bonnnie Aug 11, 2009

    Thank goodness someone helped her. Hoping a speedy recovery!

  • WinnieFan Aug 11, 2009

    I drive past here each morning on the way to work... I saw the house. The result of a house fire is always such a terrible sight. It will be interesting to see what caused it.

    Hoping the victim has a speedy recovery.