TARBORO — An early morning house fire Wednesday claimed the lives of two people and left the community mourning their loss.
Larry and Mary Helen Everette were killed in the fire that was reported by a motorist who saw the flames while driving by on N.C. 33 southeast of town.
An adult son, Michael, who lived at home, was able to escape the flames but suffered from smoke inhalation.
Edgecombe County Emergency Services Coordinator Daniel Webb said fire departments were dispatched at 1:42 a.m. and arrived at the scene by 1:52 a.m.
Webb had cell phone video that showed the structure fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. He said the building was formerly “an old pack barn and was old wood” and burned quickly.
Firefighters from four departments responded to the call and battled the blaze throughout the night.
Webb said firefighters originally extinguished the fire and left the scene about 10:30 a.m. but two trucks were called back to the scene after hot spots flared up.
Webb said the cause of the fire had not been determined: “We’re still looking at several different things.”
The Everettes were long-time members of Calvary Episcopal Church and were remembered for their role in the annual Episcopal Church Women’s Chicken Salad Lunch.
“When that time came around, he’d always be chopping up the chicken and she’d be mixing everything together,” a church member said.
Dozens of comments left on various Facebook pages shared memories of the couple and condolences to their surviving sons, Brian and Michael.
In addition, a Venmo account was established to assist the family while a local account has been established at Providence Bank.
Also, anyone with photos of the couple are asked to save them to share with the couple’s sons, as everything in the house was destroyed.
The Venmo account’s “about” section states, “A family is in need this morning as two sons have to go through a tragedy that is unimaginable. Early this morning, the Everette family house caught on fire and words can’t describe all that was lost.”