National News

Fire victim says there was an intruder in his home at time of blaze

Posted January 10, 2018 10:57 a.m. EST

— There are new developments in a house fire and a deadly wreck that may be connected. Both events happened in Clyde early Saturday morning.

David Thompson lived at the home along Old Clyde Road that went up in flames. He said it was a close call getting his wife and children out of the house. Thompson also said that at the time of the fire, an intruder had come into their home.

"It's the first time we ever dealt with anything like that, especially an intruder and a fire all at once," he said.

"When the man came in our bedroom, he started saying some kind of curse words, you know, just like he was freaking out," Thompson recalled. "He certainly didn't act normal."

Thompson said he chased the man out of the house, but then he noticed a fire in the kitchen. That is when he turned his attention toward saving his family. He said he first got his wife and baby daughter out, then went back upstairs into the dark and smoke for his 9-year-old daughter.

"My oldest kept telling me she couldn't breathe. It was scary," he said.

Everyone got outside OK, and a neighbor took them to more safety and warmth.

Not long after the fire was reported, a call came in about a stolen pickup truck. Thompson said it was taken from a neighbor.

Troopers say the driver, 42-year-old Niles Burke, crossed the center line at high speed, crashed into a tree a half mile from Thompson's house, and died.

Although the cause of the fire and its origin remain under investigation, Thompson believes Burke was connected.

"I don't see any other logical explanation," he said.

Just about everything was lost in the fire, and Thompson looks to build back his family's life. Relatives created a GoFundMe account to help the family.

Thompson said he is grateful to the community, firefighters, and investigators. "We had detectives here that have come on their own time and checked on us," he added.

The Haywood County Sheriff's Office confirms the stolen pickup truck belonged to a deputy.

Thompson and his family are living with relatives for now.