Pittman Mom, Daughter Out Of Burn Center After Deadly Fire

By: April Davis/ Carly Swain
By: April Davis/ Carly Swain

Three weeks after a deadly fire ripped through an Onslow County home, the last two family members are out of the hospital.

Sheriff Ed Brown says Johnetta Pittman, and her 11-year-old daughter, Hannah, have been released from the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Three Pittman children were killed in the accidental fire at their Highway 17 rental home. Investigators say a faulty refrigerator sparked the blaze that killed 11-year-old Tabitha, 9-year-old Elijah and 7-year-old Gabriel. All three were in a downstairs bedroom when the fire broke out.

The sheriff says the father, Sammy Pittman, has expressed many thanks to everyone for all that has been done for the family.


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Wednesday afternoon a Community, friends, and family buried three children killed in a house fire last month.

For the first time, we saw father Sammie Pittman as he led his only living son and daughters into the 600 seat sanctuary to say goodbye to three children from their family. Absent from the funeral was Johnetta and Hannah- the mother and daughter still in the hospital.

White caskets rolled into waiting hearses and the processional quieted Highway 258. Glenda Padgett from Baker's Restaurant just across the street from the burial site had to come out and see it as her own version of a tribute.

"We just- we love the family. We don't know them, but we love them all. It was just a terrible tragedy. I think one of the worst our county's seen in a long time. The Pittman family has just been in our hearts and in our prayers the last several days," said Padgett.

The community continues its outreach to the Pittman family. As we told you earlier this week, a group is pooling resources to build the family a new home. You can find details on how to help at the bottom of this story.

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Three children killed in a tragic house fire will be laid to rest Wednesday.

The Pittman family and their friends will hold services for 11-year-old Tabitha, 9-year-old Elijah and 7-year-old Gabriel. All three were in a downstairs bedroom in their home near Jacksonville when a fire broke out the morning of February 23.

WITN will respect the family's request that media cameras not be present inside the funeral at Tar Landing Baptist Church.


Previous Story

The funeral arrangements have been announced for the three children killed in a tragic house fire.

The three Pittman children who died on February 23rd, 11-year-old Tabitha, 9-year-old Elijah and 7-year-old Gabriel, will be laid to rest Wednesday. The service will be at the Tar Landing Baptist Church at 1:00 pm, followed by a burial at Onslow Memorial Park.

Five other children survived the fire, along with their mother. Their father was at work when the blaze broke out. Investigators say a faulty wire in the refrigerator sparked the early morning fire.

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Since a fire at a home outside Jacksonville late last month took the lives of three children in the Pittman family after Tabitha, Elijah, and Gabriel died in a house fire. The community has donated clothes, furniture, and money and now they're working together to build the Pittman family a brand new home. The land has been secured and the foundation poured.

The plan has been under wraps since the day after the fire, but now we can officially unveil the news. Several people who live in Onslow County have pulled together, and they're building the Pittman family a brand new home. The land is on Nan street in Richlands which has been donated. Community members have been pooling resources of skilled labor, building supplies and cash. I

The Pittman family was offered a few floor plans to choose from. Those coordinating the efforts say they want to stay anonymous and stay focused on the project and the Pittmans.

The target completion date for the house is about 90 days from Monday.

If you would like to help, PNC Bank has set up a fund for the Pittman Family home. Mail checks to PO Box 188, Richlands, NC 28574 made out to the Sammy Pittman Family Building Fund.

The email if you want to help build or donate supplies is SPFhousingfund@gmail.com.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Debra on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:08 PM
    Praying for this family. I lost one child and can NOT imagine loosing three at one time. May God send extra comfort and blessing to this poor family.
  • by ounce of prevention on Mar 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM
    There were no functional smoke alarms in this home. How many are in your home? Are you really sure they work?
    • reply
      by check smoke alarms on Mar 15, 2012 at 04:24 PM in reply to ounce of prevention
      Careful, this isn't a PSA page, you don't want to be un-PC do you? Remember, people complain about things like that. But it is great advice!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 15, 2012 at 06:43 PM in reply to ounce of prevention
      Without smoke alarms, people don't have a chance. It is the smoke that kills you first.
  • by nature girl Location: tarboro nc on Mar 7, 2012 at 03:47 PM
    May God continue to heal this family of their loss by his comfort and love each day.And may people that are praying for this family during this tradgey keep them in prayer each day because I know it will help them by knowing they are not left alone.We are also feeling the loss with them.Children are to precious to forget and I know God has recieved 3 more beautiful angels to spread their precious wings. Lord I ask You to be with this family as I sit here typing this message. Thank You Amen
  • by Judy Location: Bath on Mar 6, 2012 at 05:19 PM
    It will take a lot of time for this couple to overcome the devastating loss of their children. The pain will probably never go away, but, they need to thank God above they still have each other. A new house will not replace the "home" they once had, but it is so magnificent that there are good people left in our world. I am so sorry for their losses and I do pray that God will give them strength and courage to face the future with the best memories they can hold onto. Also, God bless the volunteers who evidently realized that it could have been them. There are so many tragedies and too few good citizens these days, but everyone involved in this endeavor will be truly blessed by our Lord and Master. He now has 3 new angels who can look down and give their parents the peace of knowing that they are alright now and they will hopefully see them again when the time comes.
  • by chelsea Location: jacksonville on Mar 6, 2012 at 03:47 PM
    Its so sad to here about the pittman family and their three lost children but the good thing is that alot of people are helping that family its good to have people you dont know help that family and i hope that everyone raises enough money for that family
  • by so sad on Mar 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM
    I ask god to give them peace, the same peace god gave to me when my daughter passed at 21 yrs old. It is very hard and life will never be the same but with god's help you will make it. Their babie's are with my jessica in heaven.The day you are born yours days are numbered, be thankful for the time you had. love and prayers
  • by me Location: nc on Mar 6, 2012 at 09:22 AM
    i pray for those sweet babies who lost their lives. I also pray that the mother has woke up and has been told about her kids, especially before the funeral - she has a right to say goodbye to them also.
  • by country boy Location: havelock on Mar 6, 2012 at 08:50 AM
    With so much negativity about our country we hear every day, it is so heartwarming to see the people of all races and political believes come together to help this devastated family. We all sometimes forget that the man above is still in control, those beautiful children will be missed but they are now with their eternal heavenly father. We all need to remember things happen for a reason, maybe some lost soul will find their peace with the Lord because of this awful tragedy. God bless them and their family.
  • by Liz Location: Craven County on Mar 6, 2012 at 06:52 AM
    It's so nice to see a heartwarming story in the news instead of the negative stuff that is usually there. Only God can heal their hurt from losing their 3 children, but it's nice to see that people in the community are helping out with the material loss. These folks will definitely be blessed.
  • by Susie Sunday Location: Carteret on Mar 6, 2012 at 05:21 AM
    This gives me hope for humanity when I see people giving so much of themselves like this and doing so without any concern about recognition. Whoever you are-God Bless you!!!!!
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