LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Officials now say two people have died after a house fire Tuesday evening in Robeson County.
Initially, officials said a fire in Lumberton killed one man and sent his son to a burn center with critical injuries, but Wednesday afternoon, the son died from his injuries.
Robeson County Emergency Operations Center Director Stephanie Chavis says the fire was called in around 11 p.m. Tuesday, and fire crews responded to the 5000 block of Singletary Church Road in Lumberton.
Chavis confirms two men were inside the home at the time of the fire. Jeffrey Branch was 75 and living in the home with his son, 50-year-old Jeffrey Branch. The son was in a car crash a few years ago, paralyzing the man, adds Chavis.
The father was attempting to get his son to safety before firefighters arrived. “It appears the dad was trying to get the son out of the house,” expresses Chavis.
The fire began in the front of the home, blocking an exit through the front door, describes Chavis.
The son was taken to the back side of the home, where he was located. Crews attempted to airlift the son for treatment, but due to weather, the son was taken by ambulance to Chapel Hill where he later died.
Family members of the victims told fire officials that the father had cooked earlier in the day, so investigators are looking into that as a possible cause of the blaze. Nothing appears to be suspicious at this point, says Chavis.
The two men had only lived in the home for about six months, after being displaced by Hurricane Matthew flooding, the family tells officials.