Man In Wheelchair Escapes Burning House

A man who uses a wheelchair escaped a fire in his Kinston home early Tuesday.

Kinston public safety officials say the fire at 1408 St. James Place, near Kinston Country Club, was reported just after 4 a.m. Officials say the homeowner, Joe Burchette, was on the back deck of the home when fire fighters arrived.

The 67-year-old Burchette has lived in the home since 1979. Burchette says he was sleeping in a downstairs bedroom when the fire broke out. The widower and his two dogs all got out of the home okay.

The cause of the fire was traced to a short in an exhaust fan in a bathroom, officials say. The damage to the house itself is estimated at $80,000, while damage to property in the house is estimated at $20,000.

Firefighters cleared the scene around 7 a.m., according to officials.