Man dies trying to extinguish Smithfield house fire
Posted August 12, 2009
Smithfield, N.C. — A man died early Wednesday after escaping and then going back inside a burning house to try put out the fire, according to Smithfield Fire Marshall Paul Whitehurst.
A pot left on a stove at 423 Martin Luther King Drive caused the fire, which happened around 12:30 a.m., officials said.
Four to five people were inside the house at the time. The man, whose name was not released, discovered the fire and went around the house waking people up, authorities said. Once everyone was outside, he went back in to try to extinguish the fire.
The man, who was in his 40s, was a visitor at the house, according to neighbors.
"I heard a lady saying, 'There's a fire,'" said neighbor Lamont Eason. "When I came out the door, I looked across the street and the back of the house was engulfed in flames and smoke."
Eason said he and other neighbors did not realize at first that there was a man inside the house.
"By the time I got across there, it was just too late. The flames and fire was coming out the windows and the back door," he said. "It's a feeling like, you know, you're helpless and you want to do something and you can't do it."