Local News

Three Die in Edgecombe County Fire

Posted November 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Two children and their grandmother died in a fire that swept through an Edgecombe County house today where eight people were sleeping. The three were sleeping together in one room in the two-story, frame house on Temperance Hall Road between Rocky Mount and Tarboro.

The children, 5-year-old Catisha and 7-year-old Kendall Knight, and their 79-year-old grandmother, Annie Knight, didn't get out of the dwelling and apparently died of smoke inhalation, said Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight.

The victims were related to the sheriff, who ironically is acting as the chief investigator at the scene.

A woman and four other children who were sleeping in the house escaped, Sheriff Knight said.

Deborah Knight was the mother of the two children who were killed. She returned to the house later Thursday to see what mementos she could retrieve. She said hers were good children.

Administrators at Bullock Elementary, where Catisha attended kindergarten and Kendall was a first-grader, said counselors were on hand at the school to provide assistance to other students.

Authorities received the fire call at 3:05 a.m. Knight said the cause of the fire hadn't been determined, but that it appeared to be accidental and to have started in the living room with a faulty lamp.

The house was located about six miles southeast of Rocky Mount. Damage to the house was extensive. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators say it appears to have been caused by an electrical malfunction.