Twin sister mourns brother and his wife who died in Wayne County fire
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — An elderly Wayne County couple died Friday morning when their mobile home caught fire.
Faye Ferrell Smith said her twin brother Ray Ferrell and his wife, Mary Francis Ferrell, lived in the mobile home on U.S. Highway 70, about two miles outside of Goldsboro.
Smith said her brother was 20 minutes older. They celebrated their 75th birthdays together last year.
“I love him, and I’m going to miss him, especially in a few more days when it’s our birthday and I can’t call him and tell him ‘happy birthday’,” Smith said.
“We’d have a bet who was going to call who on the birthday first, me or him. He (usually) did. I was in and out with my four young’uns, and he didn’t have but two, so he’d always, most of the time, call me first.”
Smith said her brother had battled cancer and had ongoing health issues. She said Ray and Mary Francis also dealt with a lot of loss, including the deaths of their daughters as well as a grandson.
A niece noted that the Ferrell’s kept the ashes of their deceased loved ones in urns at the home. Now those memorials are lost in the ashes of the home.
Wayne County Fire Marshal Bryan Taylor said the emergency call came in just after 9 a.m. Firefighters from the Rosewood, Oakland, and Belfast fire departments brought more than a half-dozen engines and pumper trucks to the scene.
“They began extinguishing the fire and started a primary search. Upon doing that, they discovered two bodies, one at the front door and one at the back door,” Taylor said.
The State Bureau of Investigation sent agents to the home, which is standard procedure in fatal fires. Taylor said the North Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office also sent a representative, and Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce and several deputies were on site Friday afternoon.
Firefighters used motorized saws to remove panels of the metal roof and siding from the middle of the mobile home.
“This is an older mobile home, of course, it’s tin on top, and the tin of the roof had collapsed. The tin was down on the floor level. We had the fire department to help us get that off so we would have access to the floor, to make it a safer working environment for us (the investigators),” Taylor said.
The damage to the home was substantial, which one investigator said can make it more challenging to determine a cause.
Family members said Ray Ferrell was on oxygen, and the Wayne County Fire Marshal confirmed there were some oxygen tanks on the porch but he could not comment if they may have been involved in the fire.
Faye Smith said her faith will help her through this difficult time.
“The good Lord, that’s the only way I can make it, the only way,” Smith said.
She said her children have also helped her through a lot.
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