GARLAND, N.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — Six people were killed after a fire swept through a mobile home in eastern North Carolina early Saturday, authorities said.
Five bodies were found in the rubble of the home immediately after the fire was extinguished around 1 a.m. Saturday; a sixth victim was found a few hours later, Sampson County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Pope said, adding that no one escaped.
The names of the victims were not released, and Pope said it could be a couple of days before the medical examiner confirms their identities.
The mobile home was in Garland, a town of about 600 people about 75 miles south of Raleigh.
Neighbors told The Fayetteville Observer that the mobile home was on property that had been in the same family for six decades. They said the victims included a mother and her boyfriend, her son, her son’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s two school-age children.
Joyce Miles saw the fire and tried to help the people get out, but it was too intense and she didn’t hear anyone inside the home. She cried as she talked about how good her neighbors were and how sad she was that she could do nothing to help.
“I just asked God ‘Lord, please help,” Miles told WTVD-TV. ”Help the children. Help them all.’”
“It just hurts me. Six people. And nobody made it out,” Miles added to the Observer. “Those people in there were able-bodied people. They could have gotten out.”
Friends, family, neighbors, and teachers identified the victims, WTVD reported.
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The home belonged to Laura Ann Newkirk, who died alongside her longtime boyfriend James Wilson and her son, Johnny Kent Newkirk. Neighbors said Johnny Newkirk’s girlfriend, Nita Robinson also died in the home alongside her young children, Tashiya Robinson and Andre Smith.
A daughter of one of the reported victims told WTVD she woke up in the middle of the night with an unsettling feeling.
“I just asked the Lord to please stop this feeling,” Stephanie Monroe told the station regarding her father, James Wilson. “And then I got the call.”
Robinson and Smith were third and fourth grade students, WTVD reported.
Deputies and the Sampson County Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating. There was no immediate evidence the fire was intentionally set, Pope said in a news release.
“Investigators are still processing the evidence as a crime until the cause of the fire can be determined and autopsies are complete,” Pope said.