72-year-old and his granddaughter die when fire tears through NC home, officials say

A 72-year-old man and his 22-year-old granddaughter died after a fire tore through a mobile home in North Carolina, officials said.

A third family member — the mother of the 22-year-old woman — escaped the burning trailer and survived with no injuries, Columbus County Fire Marshal Shannon Blackman told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

The blaze was reported at about 6:30 a.m. Dec. 1 in the Hallsboro area, roughly 120 miles south of Raleigh.

A firefighter living nearby awoke to the news that a neighbor’s home was up in flames. He called for help and tried to enter the home, but the blaze prevented him from getting inside, according to the fire marshal’s office and the Columbus County News.

“It’s heartbreaking, I mean, it is,” the firefighter, Kevin Singletary, told WECT. “It’s something I deal with.”

Lake Waccamaw EMS and the Hallsboro Volunteer Fire Department reportedly responded to the scene of the blaze, which was extinguished by 7 a.m. The family members killed in the fire were identified as Madison Brooke Whaley and her grandfather, Barry Vaughan.

Though the cause of the fire hadn’t been determined, officials say they don’t suspect foul play.

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