Woman identified in fatal Lenoir County house fire

Woman identified in fatal Lenoir County house fire
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 5:12 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 10:35 PM EST
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LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Tragedy struck a Lenoir County community Friday afternoon when a woman was killed in a house fire.

Authorities confirmed there was a death at the mobile home on 1719 Vernie Heath Road in Deep Run. Debby Barwick says it was her sister, 54-year-old Juanita Martin who died.

Barwick says Martin was on an oxygen tank in the living room and was at home with her husband, Rob, who was taking a nap when the fire started. Rob couldn’t save her and he went outside to alert his neighbor, who is Martin’s cousin.

“I was not able to go get her, I couldn’t get her out,” Myra Heath said. “There was just no one around till the fire department got here and it was like, you’re just helpless, there’s nothing you can do.”

The family said Martin had serious health conditions and was using an oxygen tank.

“Mobile homes are something that you just, you got to get out of,” Heath said. “And she couldn’t because she wasn’t able to get out herself cause she had been sick and had some issues, and she couldn’t get out.”

Barwick said Rob was taken to a hospital in Chapel Hill where he’s in critical condition.

Deep Run, Pink Hill, and Southwood fire departments were called to the fire around 3:45 p.m.

Lenoir County deputy director Samual Kornegay said crews were able to put out the fire shortly after, which appears to have been near the front of the home.

“I would consider this home to be a total loss,” Kornegay said. “The fire was contained to the living room area however there are soot and smoke damage throughout the rest of the house.”

The fire is still being investigated and it is expected to continue through Friday evening. Bryan Hanks, the public information officer for Lenoir County, says nothing appears to be criminal in nature at this time.

The family said a dog was also at the home and survived.

There is a new GoFundMe page set up for funeral and medical expenses. This replaces the previous account.

Stay with WITN-TV and WITN.com for more on this developing story.

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