Officials say fatal Hickory fire considered suspicious

by: Dave Faherty Updated:


HICKORY, N.C. - A man is dead after being pulled out of a burning home in Catawba County Friday morning.

The fire destroyed a home and a large garage on the property on 38th Street Drive Northeast in northeast Hickory.

Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty arrived on the scene within minutes and could hear explosions coming from the garage behind the home. He also saw firefighters kick in the front door in hopes of making a rescue.

Sheriff’s deputies said James Allen, 68, died in the fire. Officials said the fire is suspicious and the home and garage are 100 feet apart.

About two minutes after forcing their way into the home, two firefighters carried a man out the front door.

"It doesn't make any sense at all. I was surprised how two of them were on fire at the same time,” said neighbor Don Dollarhide.
Deputies said Allen was renting the home from a family member.
Neighbors who knew him are in disbelief over how he died.  

A neighbor told Channel 9 that the man who lived there was taking care of the property. 

"It just breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to see that happen in my neighborhood,” said Debbie Killian.

Investigators have asked for help from the SBI and are waiting on a search warrant before they start their investigation. They expect to be on scene for much of the afternoon.