Garon Wayne Benson, 13, was killed in a fire at his home in East Rockingham, on Sunday morning, Nov. 18, according to Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr.
At around 4:35 a.m. Sunday, East Rockingham Fire Department and Cordova Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at 268 Safie 2nd St. in East Rockingham.
Sheriff deputies arrived on the scene after receiving a call from 911 stating that there were possibly people still inside the burning residence, the sheriff said.
“As deputies and firefighters arrived on the scene they could see the home was engulfed in flames,” said Sheriff Clemmons. Attempts were made to enter the house for search and rescue efforts but the flames had forced everyone out, he said.
Two people escaped the home. Garon’s mother, Mandy Carpenter, was transported to FirstHealth then to UNC Chapel Hill Burn Center for third degree burns. Carpenter’s husband, David Carpenter, 29, was treated by EMS, Clemmons said.
Sheriff deputies and investigators with the North Carolina SBI Arson Unit worked for several hours to determine the cause of the fire on Sunday. “At this point there is no indication of foul play,” said Clemmons, “the fire appears to be an accident.”
Due to Garon’s age, the Richmond County School system has been notified of the tragedy. Arrangements have been made to have extra counselors on staff for grieving students and classmates of Garon.