N.C. Duplex Fire Claims Man, Teen

NASHVILLE — A man and teenage boy have died after suffering severe burns in a Monday afternoon duplex fire.

Joseph Christopher Williams, 53, of 820 Rose St. in Rocky Mount, died on the way to the hospital and a 13-year-old boy died at the state burn center in Chapel Hill, according to Nashville police.

The 12:37 p.m. fire ignited the rear of a 239 N. Lumber St. duplex. Police said the flames were out when Nashville firefighters arrived to find Williams and the boy in a back bedroom.

Police Chief Thomas Bashore said in a statement that the fire remains under investigation and would not provide additional details Monday night.

"This is an isolated incident, and there is no further threat to the public,” Bashore said in the statement.

Police haven’t said whether the man and 13-year-old boy are related and would not release the boy’s name Monday.

Nashville police and Nash County sheriff’s deputies are investigating along with Nashville firefighters. Police and sheriff’s cars lined Lumber Street as detectives swarmed in and out of a duplex ringed with yellow crime scene tape.

Paramedics took the 13-year-old to Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount, where doctors had him transferred to the University of North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Police said they’re waiting for an autopsy to determine how the boy died. The Monday statement didn’t specify whether Williams will also undergo an autopsy.

A woman at the scene who declined to give her name said her father lives at the adjoining duplex apartment. She didn’t know the man and boy, but said she believed they are related to the unit’s owner.

Nashville police closed Lumber Street at its intersections with Pine Street and Lloyd Park Drive for several hours as authorities investigated the fatal fire.

The burned duplex is located near Forest Hill Cemetery in northern Nashville near U.S. 64.

Bashore said police would reveal more details about the fire today.

corey@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821