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Investigators Determine Vance Co. Fire Was Preventable

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Oliver Darden
TOWNSVILLE — Firefighters have completed theirinvestigation of Monday's deadly fire in Vance County. They have concludedthat the fire and deaths could have been prevented.

Investigators say embers from a woodstove ignited a couch. Withinminutes, the house was fully engulfed in flames. Oliver Darden, 15, andher 13-year-old cousin, Sueanne Alston, died in the fire and three otherswere badly burned.

Firefighters say there were no smoke detectors in the house andthat the family had been warned by the fire department before.They were told to move that same couch away from the fireplace last yearafter firefighters put out a chimney fire.

A Memorial Fund has been set up for the Alston and Darden Families withCentura Bank. Donations can be sent to the Alston and Darden FamilyMemorial Fund, c/o New Hope Elementary School, 10199 NC Hwy. 39, NorthHenderson, NC, 27536. Checks should be payable to Alston and DardenMemorial Fund.

The school will also be accepting any clothing or food donated. Alldonations can be dropped off at the New Hope Elementary at the aboveaddress during normal school operation hours.

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