WILSON, N.C. — A Wilson couple says they tried everything they could to save their friend and next-door neighbor in an early morning fire on Sunday.
The incident happened around 5 a.m. at 2005 Noland Road, according to Wilson Police Sgt. Steven Stroud.
Jamie M. Hill, 25, died as a result of injuries from the blaze, police say.
The night before, Josh Lewin and his girlfriend Nora Jones — who is a nurse — went to the racetrack with Hill.
Just several hours after they went to bed, Lewin and Jones woke up to someone screaming outside.
“I ran out and there was a man in the middle of the street saying there’s a fire,” said Lewin. “I ran through my house and I opened the door and I could see the orange flames through the windows.”
Lewin said he ran outside and immediately ran into the house to try to save Hill. The man was screaming at Lewin not to go inside the house but he went in anyway.
“It was just adrenaline,” said Lewin. “I knew I had to go in there and try to save him.”
Lewin found his friend inside the burning home lying on the couch.
“I tried to shake him and holler at him and he didn’t get up so I grabbed him by his shoulders and dragged him out the house,” said Lewin. “I did everything I could to try to get him out the house and get him safe.”
Once outside, Lewin’s girlfriend, who is a nurse at a local hospital, performed CPR on Hill.
“I was talking, praying, breathing, pumping, begging, pleading,” said Nora Jones. “A million things were going through my mind. At that moment in time, we just wanted anything. We wanted him to open his eyes, we wanted him to breath, we wanted him to roll over. It just didn’t happen that way.”
Once first responders arrived, they continued working on Hill for about an hour before he was pronounced dead.
Hill leaves behind a wife and a 5-year-old boy, who were out of town visiting family at the time of the fire.
Lewin and Jones say they’ll remember Hill as someone who was always smiling and always laughing.
“I’ve asked him for help in a few situations and he’s always been there for me to help me,” said Lewin. “I feel like if my house were on fire, he would have done the same thing for me and my family.”
The Wilson Police Department and Wilson Fire/Rescue Services are actively investigating the incident. They say they’re still working to determine the cause of the fire but believe it was caused accidentally.