Local News

Fayetteville bus driver dies in house fire

Posted January 14, 2011 12:58 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2011 7:32 p.m. EST

— A Fayetteville school bus driver died Friday morning after his home caught fire, authorities said.

Firefighters responded to 737 Edgehill Road shortly before 8 a.m. and contained the fire to a bedroom, authorities said.

James McPherson, 67, who lived alone, was pulled from the burning home and taken to a nearby hospital, where he died, authorities said.

Greg McPherson, who lives around the corner from his brother, said he was on his way to do some work at his church when he saw smoke coming from the house and stopped to help.

"I tried to come in here and make it down the hall, but I couldn't make it down the hall," he said, noting the heat and the smoke were too intense.

He called 911, but he said his brother was unresponsive by the time paramedics arrived.

James McPherson worked at the Fort Bragg commissary for 30 years before retiring. In recent years, he drove a school bus for special-needs students.

"He was a best friend of mine and a wonderful man, a wonderful man," Greg McPherson said.

James McPherson would have been driving his bus route at the time of the fire, but Cumberland County Schools delayed opening by two hours Friday morning because of a broken water main.

"When he was told there was a delay, he must have come back here and gone back to bed," his brother said.

Authorities said the fire appears to have started in an electrical junction box under the house. The fire remains under investigation, but authorities said they believe it was an accident.

The home didn't have a working smoke detector, authorities said.