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Investigators Search for Smoke Detector, Release 911 Tape from Deadly Rocky Mount Fire

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ROCKY MOUNT — Investigators says a fire that killed seven people may have started near a gas heater.

Investigators say the heater was not vented, and was surrounded by clothing, newspapers and other paper products. They say a couch partially blocked the front hall.

Six children and one adult died in the Sunday morning fire.

Fire officials were combing the ashes Tuesday as they looked for a smoke detector. Friends and friends said they did not notice any smoke detectors in the house.

The landlord, Farouk Hamed, says a working, battery-operated smoke detector was installed in the house six months ago. He says he has smoke detectors in all 70 of his rental units.

Hamed says tenants sometimes take them down or remove the batteries, but he plans to check all of his properties to make sure the detectors are properly installed and operating.

Officials released a tape of theinitial call that dispatchers receivedabout the fire:
  • 911: 911 Emergency.
  • Caller: Yes, we've got an emergency. A house is on fire on Arlington Street.
  • 911: Where at on Arlington?
  • Caller: Lord Jesus.
  • 911: Where at?
  • Caller: In the 400 district. What's the address, baby? Oh God. It's in the 400 block, right here on Arlington Street.
  • 911: 400 block of Arlington?
  • Caller: There's a baby in the house.A memorial fund has been set up for the family. Donations can be made at any BB&T branch or mailed to the following address:
  • Moore Family Memorial Fundc/o BB&TP.O. Box 2568Rocky Mount, N.C. 27802