ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — Investigators are trying to figure out what started a mobile home fire in Alexander County early Tuesday morning that left a man dead.
Firefighters were called around 3 a.m. to Black Oak Ridge Road, north of Taylorsville, and found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames.
Most likely, someone driving by the home would not have seen the fire because the structure is back in some woods about 100 yards down a dirt drive. But neighbors said the sound of an explosion alerted them that something was wrong.
The sheriff said 69-year-old Curley Wike was killed in the blaze and was found near his bedroom. He was well-known in that part of the county.
Alexander Fire marshal Russell Greene was called to the scene to investigate.
Investigators believe the explosion most likely came from oxygen tanks inside the home. The sheriff added that the fire was more likely accidental.
Three different fire departments fought the fire Tuesday morning. No firefighters were injured by the explosions.
"The family has been notified. Our prayers go out to the family. We ask that you keep them in their thoughts and prayers," Greene said.
Channel 9's Dave Faherty spoke with Wike's friends who said they knew him for much of their lives.
"Good guy. Me and him went to school together," friend Richard Mash said.
"We just saw him Sunday. We go to church up here in Pleasanthill. We did the country thing and speak and didn't know it would be the last time to see him," friend Gene Daganhart said.
Firefighters in another part of Alexander County were also busy battling a separate house fire Tuesday morning, in Hiddenite.
The flames broke out at a home on York Institute Road around 7:25 a.m. When crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames were shooting from the house.
Both the homeowner and his wife escaped unharmed.
It took four departments roughly an hour to bring the fire under control.
No injuries were reported but the house was destroyed, as were two cars in the driveway.
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