UPDATE: Aurora fire a ‘cooking accident’
AURORA — Investigators have determined the Friday morning fire that claimed the life of Aurora resident Henry Jennette, 73, was not intentionally set.
“We haven’t determined the exact cause (of the fire) at this time,” said Beaufort County Chief Deputy Kit Campbell. “They (crime-scene investigators) have been able to determine that there was no foul play.”
A news release issued by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office Friday afternoon said a “cooking accident” might have started the fire.
Jennette was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the release. An autopsy will be scheduled in an effort to determine the cause of Jennette’s death, according to the release.
Jennette lived alone in his 1930s-era camper at 346 Middle Road, and Jennette was apparently alone when the fire erupted.
The 911 call to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office’s communications center came in at about 8:30 a.m., according to a sheriff’s office spokesman.
“The Aurora (Volunteer) Fire Department was dispatched. When they arrived on scene, they discovered the body,” Campbell said.
The news release said firefighters found the body after entering the burning residence.
Jennette’s sister, Opal Jennette Cratch, spent the day at the fire scene, determined to see his remains before she would leave.
“I wanna see him,” Cratch said.
Jennette was the oldest of nine children, and he grew up in Aurora.
“He’s gonna be missed very much because he knows almost everybody,” Cratch said.
The siblings were last together May 21 when Cratch came to take Jennette to a doctor’s appointment, but Jennette decided not to go.
Cratch said her brother was in poor health. He had asthma, high blood pressure, swollen feet and was underweight.
“I don’t know if he weighed 90 pounds,” she said. “But, it’s all right. He’s fine. He’s out of his suffering.”
Aurora EMS personnel, sheriff’s deputies and personnel with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation responded to the incident. The sheriff’s office requested assistance from the SBI. Once the SBI arrived, investigators processed the scene.
The fatality comes less than a month after another Beaufort County man died as the result of a fire on his birthday.
Jeffrey Lee Warren, 55, died in an early morning May 25 fire at 105 Wedgewood Drive in Tranter’s Creek Estates off U.S. Highway 264 in western Beaufort County.
Firefighters with the Clark’s Neck, Old Ford and Washington fire departments responded to the fire after a neighbor noticed flames and reported the fire to authorities about 4:33 a.m. It took about four hours to extinguish the fire, according to fire officials.
Evidence collected at the scene indicates the fire was accidental in nature, according to the sheriff’s office.
At that time, medical reports indicate Warren’s death was caused by smoke and toxic-vapor inhalation as a result of the fire, according to the sheriff’s office. No foul play is suspected, according to the sheriff’s office.