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Suspicious fire rips through Dunn home, displaces five

A fire that authorities are calling suspicious ripped through a Dunn house Monday evening, forcing a family of five out of their home.

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DUNN, N.C. — A fire that authorities are calling "suspicious" ripped through a Dunn duplex Monday evening, forcing a family of five out of their home.

It's the third fire call at the home, in the 300 block of North Layton Avenue, in the past week, investigators said.

"In the last week, we've had three separate occurrences," said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Phillips. "This is the third occurrence at this location."

Resident Stephon McPhatter said he has no idea who would want to set fire to his home.

"Friday night, they tried to start the fire and we got it out. Saturday night, it started behind the house and they got it out," he said. "I guess they succeeded today."

McPhatter said he was sleeping around 5 p.m. Monday when flames roared through the house.

"I had dozed off for a few minutes – then all of a sudden, I heard a boom," McPhatter said. 

Investigators said the blaze likely started in the back of the home.

"It did move up the back wall," McPhatter said. "I looked back again and it was nothing but flames around the house, and when I pulled the door open, the flames met me."

When McPhatter got out of the house safely, he was hysterical, thinking his teenage son was trapped inside, as several fire crews from surrounding areas arrived on the scene. 

His son had gone to a friend's house, however, and was not home when the fire broke out.

"I didn't know where he was at, and it scared me so bad," McPhatter said.

He and his family planned to stay with family members Monday night.

Phillips said the cause of the fire is under investigation.


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