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SHERIFF: Electrical Malfunction Sparked Fire That Killed Elderly Couple


Investigators say an electrical malfunction started a fire Thursday morning that killed an elderly Lenoir County couple.

Theodore Wilkes, 81 and his wife, Hazel, 75 died in the fire at their home on Skeeter Pond Road.

Sheriff Chris Hill says volunteer firefighters rushed into the home to try to save the couple. "I am begging citizens to inspect their exposed wiring and to make sure it is not run under carpets, or in area's that would create wear on the insulation that encases the wiring," said the sheriff.

Friends say the couple had been married for over 60 years, he recently had a stroke and she had to use a walker.


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An elderly couple was killed after fire ripped through a mobile home this morning in Lenoir County.

Volunteers from Lenoir and Greene counties were called out just before 9:00 a.m. to the fire on Skeeter Pond Road, near Hugo Road. That's in Lenoir County, just west of Grifton.

The fire heavily damaged the home, and multiple ambulances were on the scene.

Lenoir County Emergency Services Director Roger Dail says the two bodies were found inside the home.

Friends and neighbors say Hazel and Theo Wilkes, who are both in their early 80s, lived in the mobile home. They say a third person at the home left right before the fire and returned to see it on fire.

Friends say the couple had been married for over 60 years, he recently had a stroke and she had to use a walker.

No cause has been released and firefighters say at this point the fire remains under investigation.


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