A 3-year-old boy was killed in a Tuesday morning fire that destroyed his family’s home in Western North Carolina.
Firefighters were called out to the blaze on Gull Avenue in East Flat Rock just after 9 a.m., according to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor who called 911 told dispatchers than someone who lived in the mobile home was trying to put out the fire with a garden hose, according to the Hendersonville Times-News.
But firefighters arrived “within minutes” to find the inside of the home engulfed in flames, the sheriff’s office said.
They immediately started working to put the fire out and searched the home for anyone still inside.
“Tragically, it was discovered that a preschool aged child had lost their life in the fire,” the sheriff’s office said.
The 3-year-old was in the home with his two school-aged siblings and an adult caregiver, who is believed to be a family member, when the fire broke out, officials said during a Tuesday news conference streamed by WLOS.
Everyone else made it out of the home without serious injuries, officials said.
The child’s parents were not home at the time. Officials believe his mother was on her way home from work and his father was on his way to work, WYFF reported.
Officials said during the news conference that the family’s home has “basically been destroyed.”
The fire is still under investigation but it likely started in the kitchen area, authorities said, adding that there are no signs of it being anything but accidental.
The family has been receiving assistance from an outreach group, a local church and the American Red Cross, officials said during the news conference.
“This takes its toll on everyone,” Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin said. “It takes its toll on the family, on all the relatives, on neighbors, on first responders. Anytime tragedy strikes where a child is involved, it’s pretty intense — and it should be. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be as human as we need to be.”