LUMBERTON — A 62-year-old man was killed and a former firefighter injured in a fire at a mobile home on Sunday that was caused by a cigarette, according to a sheriff’s investigator.
Lt. Brian Duckworth said rescuers were also endangered by oxygen containers in the home that could have exploded.
Jerry Lee Inman died from the fire at his home on Wilton Drive despite a rescue attempt.
“Neighbors saw the smoke coming from the trailer and ran over to help,” Duckworth said.
Kenneth Price, a former fireman who lives near Inman, and Jeff Broadwell, a volunteer with Britts Volunteer Fire Department, pulled Inman from the home and began CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive, but Inman was pronounced dead at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
Price suffered from smoke inhalation and was treated and released from the medical center; Broadwell was not injured.
Duckworth said it could have been much worse.
“There were six oxygen bottles found near the fire,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the quick response time of the fire department or if the fire had progressed faster, there would have been a serious danger to the first responders.”
Britt’s volunteer firefighters began fighting the fire at 3:43 p.m. —about 5 minutes after it was reported — and were assisted by the Pine Terrace Fire Department minutes later. Damage to the home was estimated at $10,000.