LOWGAP — An overnight mobile home fire has claimed the lives of two elderly Lowgap residents.
The fire occurred just off N.C. 89 at 125 Pea Tree Lane, the home of Clyde and Sandra Greeley.
The two in their 70s were discovered Tuesday morning by their son, said John Shelton, director of Surry County Emergency Services. The son stopped in to see them around 8:20 a.m., found them and then called 9-1-1 at 8:26 a.m.
Local fire, emergency services and law enforcement personnel were joined by the State Bureau of Investigation during the day Tuesday to examine a self-contained blaze that destroyed the interior of the trailer while not spreading to any nearby houses or trees.
In fact, John Shelton said the only sign of a fire on the outside of the structure was the condition of the front door. Even the front porch was fine.
On the inside, however, authorities found the couple, as well as the remains of six pets.
With Monday’s severe storms causing power outages across the county, including downed trees in Lowgap, could the couple have been trying to keep the mobile home warm with an alternative heat source such as a kerosene space heater?
Shelton said that thought was on his mind, too, on the drive out to the property, but no such evidence was found.
The fire marshal and the SBI have not yet announced a cause for the fire.
As is the case in all fire deaths, the bodies will be sent for autopsies to verify the cause of death.
This has been a terrible, busy year for emergency personnel, noted Shelton. The Greeleys are the ninth and 10th fire deaths so far in 2017, when some years have no deaths at all.
There also have been 48 drug deaths and four infant deaths, said Shelton.
Then there have been a few murders this year like Sandra Jayne Sechrist in March, Nathan Corey Atkins in July, Devan Skylar Upchurch earlier this month, and the apparent murder-suicide with Dennis and Nancy Hutchens in Elkin over the weekend.
That brings the number of unnatural deaths to more than 60, and that doesn’t include all the accidental deaths such as car crash victims.
The county already has broken the unwanted record of most unnatural deaths in a year, and at the pace, the number could climb to as many as 90 by the end of the year, Shelton feared.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.