LENOIR, N.C. — Firefighters are investigating after a man was found dead Sunday morning after a house fire in Caldwell County.
The fire started just after 9:30 a.m. at a house on Orlando’s Way in the Cajah’s Mountain Community in Lenoir.
When firefighters got to the house, they said they were faced with heavy smoke, heat and fire.
After they were able to safely enter the home to do a search, crews found 29-year-old Frankie Prestwood dead in his bedroom.
Prestwood’s roommate, Ricky Truett, was also inside when the fire started. He said he tried to reach Prestwood who was at the other end of the home, but couldn’t get to him.
“I opened the door to the hallway. It was pitch black smoke," Truett said. "I went in there to try to save him and I got help from a neighbor saying someone was in the room and I needed help kicking the door.”
Truett told Channel 9 that when he and the neighbor forced open the door, flames pushed them back and broke two windows, so they ran out.
They both made it out safely.
Neighbors told Channel 9 they heard a popping sound coming from the home before firefighters got there.
They said the flames spread very quickly and engulfed the trailer.
“It was pretty bad the flames were shooting out the back bedroom window and the sides over there," neighbor Matthew Singleton said. "I seen black smoke boil out of that trailer and then flames and the fire department was putting it out.”
Neighbors said the fire has devastated the community.
“I pray for this family that they can get past this and something good can come out of this. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel in my world,” Ryan Byrd said.
Officials said the fire started in the bedroom where Prestwood was found and the home did not have smoke detectors, but the cause and circumstances of the fire are unknown at this time. The medical examiner will be working to determine Prestwood’s cause of death.
Caldwell County Emergency Services said this is a reminder to residents to install smoke detectors and test them regularly.
“If you have an issue and do not have a smoke detector you call us and we’ll make sure you have one. They can come by and get it or we’ll put it up for you,” Chief Randy Swanson said.
They also said it is important that everyone who lives in your home understands and practices your fire escape plan.
A firefighter was treated at the scene for burns to the ear, but he’s expected to recover.
It took firefighters about 10 minutes to put out the fire.
The county fire marshal, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are working to determine the cause of the fire.
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