SMITHFIELD – An elderly man died in a house fire this morning. Investigators think they know how fatal fire started.
At 3:36am Sunday a neighbor called 911 reporting a home at 3508 Stevens Sausage Road was on fire. The Smithfield, Brogden, and Pine Level Fire Departments rushed to the scene to find the home fully engulfed in flames and the roof already collapsed in.
Firefighters battled the blaze for just over an hour before bringing it under control.
Authorities said they found the body of an elderly man inside the home. The name of the victim was not immediately released.
Johnston County Fire Marshal Adam Stanley said the blaze originated in a bedroom area and the possible cause was the use of an electrical space heater.
However, due to the extent of the damage, the cause of the fire will likely be ruled as undetermined.
“We would like to remind all home occupants to keep at least 3 feet of clearance around all heating appliances and to also check your smoke alarms,” Fire Marshal Stanley said.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the fatal home fire investigation. All signs point to the fire being accidental.