A year later, woman speaks about fatal house fire that killed two family members

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Last January, a year ago on Saturday, April Bell’s life changed forever after a devastating house fire.

“Waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning to my grandmother screaming, so I went to her aid thinking she had fallen. When I went in there, a much more horrific scene had transpired: her feet to her chest were on fire,” said Bell.

It took the lives of her grandmother, Nellie Williams, and her cousin, Benjamin Bell.

“They are missed every day. There is not a day that has gone by that me or my family has not thought about them. We’re still trying to grasp this tragedy,” said April Bell.

According to Jay Morris, Pitt County’s Fire Marshal, the fire started from improper use of smoking materials. Bell said her grandmother fell asleep with a lit cigarette, catching a blanket on fire.

Bell said it had been a rough year for her, and while she did not suffer any physical injuries, she was still scarred by the event. “I have definitely taken into therapy. The Red Cross offers therapy aid for people who have gone through housefires. I totally recommend it,” said Bell.

But now she wants to let those know who have survived a house fire or lost a loved one in a fire, it can get better. “There is hope after a house fire. It may not seem like it, but there is. You can always pick up the pieces and start fresh,” said Bell.

Bell said she is trying hard to stay strong with the support of her friends and family. Her cousin has even started trying to renovate the damaged house.

Three fire departments, Stokes, Statton House, and Belvoir , all responded to the initial fire.