Local News

Father dies in Durham house fire

Posted May 13, 2011 5:37 a.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2011 6:36 p.m. EDT

— A man died after he and his son were trapped in a house fire off North Roxboro Road in north Durham Thursday night, authorities said.

The fire broke out in a house at the corner of Monk Road and Ryan Street at about 9:45 p.m., fire department spokeswoman Sierra Jackson said.

Neighbor Annick Daye said she knew, based on the family's routine, that Magdy Mohamed Soliman and his son, Mohamed Soliman, were likely inside the home when the fire broke out. She and other neighbors said the man's wife often travels for work and wasn't home at the time of the fire.

"I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what is she going to have to come home to?'" Daye said. "We kept screaming, 'There is somebody in the house.'"

Firefighters found 15-year-old Mohamed Soliman in a front bedroom and got him out of the house. They pulled Magdy Soliman, 54, out of a window in the front of the house, but he died later.

The teen, who is a freshman at Riverside High School, was taken to Duke University Hospital and was later transferred to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals.

A dog also died in the house fire.

Jackson said fire investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the fire and where it started in the house.

Neighbors said the family is well respected and are great people.

"They are a good family. They are nice people," neighbor Julian McCullers said.

"Our heart is really heavy," Daye said, noting that Magdy Soliman' wife was instrumental in forming a neighborhood watch and making a difference in the community.

"She got that together. You know, she was concerned about it. She was serious about it," Daye said. "She has to come home to her (shattered) world. It just tore me up."

Magdy Soliman was the third person to be killed in a house fire in Durham this week.

Larry Cole, 20, and Demaso Cole, 19, died early Wednesday in a house fire on Holloway Street that their 3-year-old nephew started while playing with a lighter, police said. Four other people, including the boy and his 1-year-old sister, escaped.