Tragedy struck a Four Oaks family early this morning (Saturday) when their home caught fire while they slept.
The blaze was reported around 2:10am at 5083 Highway 301 South near Four Oaks.
The fire trapped a mother and her two children, age 15 and 16, in a back bedroom. The father was able to escape and run to a home across the road and call for help.
State troopers and a Four Oaks police officer were the first on the scene. The police officer rescued the mother from the burning home. In the process the officer sustained a laceration to his hand.
The Four Oaks Fire Department located the two unconscious children in the bedroom and pulled them outside. State troopers performed CPR on the 15 year-old female victim until EMS paramedics arrived and continued life saving measures.
Both children were airlifted to the burn center at UNC Hospital in critical condition. The mother was transported by ambulance to the hospital in serious condition.
Four Oaks fire crews were assisted in extinguishing the blaze by the Smithfield and Elevation Fire Departments.
Four Oaks Fire Chief Barry Stanley said the cause of the fire has not been determined but it does not appear to be suspicious. The Johnston County Fire Marshal and federal ATF agents are also assisting with the investigation.
Chief Stanley said the blaze is an important reminder for everyone to have working smoke detectors. The home did not appear to have smoke detectors, which Chief Stanley believes could have alerted the family to the fire and possibly prevented the tragedy.
Photos by John Payne