UPDATE: Victims identified in deadly Duplin County house fire, SBI investigating cause

UPDATE: Victims identified in deadly Duplin County house fire, SBI investigating cause

Authorities say it happened around 5:00 a.m. on Highway 41 near the Duplin/Sampson county line.

DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Authorities have identified a man and a woman killed early this morning in Duplin County.

The bodies of 71-year-old James Willis and 70-year-old Diana Brown are being transferred to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies.

Authorities say fire crews were sent just after 5:00 a.m. to the home on South Highway 41 near Powell Page Road which is near the Duplin/Sampson county line.

Crews arrived to find the mobile home on fire with flames shooting through the roof.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the home.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the home.

“I was getting ready to do my usual morning stuff and around 5 o’clock I pulled out of the driveway and I saw that area down there was bright red and I was like ‘Oh somethings going on down there,” neighbor Yvonne Rhodie said.

As crews fought the fire, they found two victims dead inside the home.

Duplin County Emergency Management Coordinator Brian Matthis said crews were able to fight the flames quickly.

“By the time I arrived, the fire had been contained and there was some light smoke in the area,” Matthis said.

The home was destroyed in the fire and its cause remains under investigation by the SBI.

“This is going to be a rough time for the family of the deceased and I think it’s important to keep them in your thoughts and prayers and support them and hold them up throughout the future,” Matthis said.

Tax records show that Willis has owned the home since 2004.

The fire was reported shortly after 5:00 a.m.

The fire was reported shortly after 5:00 a.m.

Multiple fire departments from the two counties fought the fire this morning.

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