Couple married for 60 years dead in Grifton fire - WNCN: News, Weather

Couple married for 60 years dead in Grifton fire

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A couple, married for more than 60 years, is dead after their home caught on fire.

Neighbors said 75-year-old Hazel Wilkes and 81-year-old Theodore Wilkes died in a fire Thursday morning on Skeeter Pond Road in Grifton. 

The fire happened around 9:00 a.m.

A friend of the family lived in the house, but he left around 8:30 to visit a neighbor. When he saw the fire, he tried to rush into the house, but he couldn't get inside. That's when he called 911.

The Hugo Fire Department and other teams were able to put the fire out in less than six minutes, but it was too late for the Wilkes.

The fire was so intense people weren't able to get close to the home.

"The smoke was too much and too bad for me to do anything.  My son also wanting to do something but they kept telling us it was too late.  The fire was too bad and the smoke.  It was just too bad," said Minnie Holton, family friend.

Detectives have determined the cause of the fire as an electrical malfunction inside the residence.

Sheriff Chris Hill said about the incident, "This is a tragic event for the family and the community and our thoughts and prayers are with the Wilkes family."  Electrical fires are found to be the culprit in many residential fires. I am begging citizens to inspect their exposed wiring and to make sure it is not run under carpets, or in area's that would create wear on the insulation that encases the wiring. If you suspect something is wrong with your home's electrical wiring, consult an electrician immediately. I would like to commend the many dedicated volunteer firefighters like those who were on the scene from Hugo, North Lenoir, Sand Hill and Hookerton fire departments for their valiant efforts in quickly extinguishing the blaze and attempting to rescue the victims."   

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