Investigators looking if Ophelia flood waters played role in deadly Beaufort County house fire
BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Fire investigators are looking into whether flood waters from Tropical Storm Ophelia played a role in a deadly fire that killed a Beaufort County couple the night of the storm.
The bodies of 76-year-old Franklin Meeks and his 73-year-old wife, Gail, were found in their Riverview Drive home on September 23rd.
A preliminary report released today by the Beaufort County Fire Marshal’s Office says neighbors heard an explosion and one 911 caller saw flames coming from under the home, possibly started by a vehicle.
The area was flooded earlier in the day because of Ophelia, and neighbors reported water was two feet deep under the couple’s home, flooding the SUVs, two lawnmowers, and a golf cart.
The report says the estate executor heard one of the SUVs under the home had shorted out and the headlights were on. He told investigators that Meeks and another neighbor disconnected the battery in that vehicle.
Investigators say they are continuing to analyze data, including security cameras, and waiting on lab reports as the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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