Man found dead in early morning mobile home fire, officials say

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The coroner said James Edwards, 48, died early Monday when his house caught fire.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire on Rhyne Road near the North Carolina border.

One end of the single-wide mobile home is gone, except for the metal roof. Friends of the victim who were familiar with the house told Channel 9 the fire started in the kitchen.

It appears Edwards was home by himself when it started.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents and firefighters worked for hours clearing what was left of the trailer on Rhyne Road, and trying to pinpoint the cause of the fire.

Clayton Martin saw his friend a few days ago. He said Edwards was supposed to come by his place to pick up a lawn mower.

"It’s pretty hard to see because he was a real good friend," Martin said. "I just wish he could of got out and just lost his trailer instead of his life."

Neighbors spotted the flames and called 911 just after 4:30 a.m.

Diane Massey, who lives right behind the house said she heard several popping sounds, but stayed indoors because she said Edwards had several guns. She was concerned one might go off accidentally during the fire.

“It's horrible. It's really horrible. I mean you don't want that to happen to anybody," she said.

Friends said Edwards lived with a girlfriend, but they had separated recently.

Fire investigators do not believe the fire was suspicious, but as of late Monday, they'd released no new details about the cause.

An autopsy and toxicology tests on Edwards' body were scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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