SHELMERDINE, PITT COUNTY - Investigators released the cause of death for a man whose mobile home caught fire in Pitt County Wednesday evening.
According to Pitt County deputies, the man died from smoke inhalation. His home, located at the intersection of Highway 43 and Woodmen Road in Shelmerdine, south of Chicod, erupted in flames at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Investigators said the fire started in the living room, and they found the victim's body in his bedroom.
Although officials did not release the name of the victim, the Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday they had a person there by the name of Dale Wilcox. Neighbors also identified him as Wilcox, an older man who lived alone at the home.
"I'd stop sometimes and talk with him [for] a while," said neighbor Joan Williams. "He was a good friend, he would do anything."
Ernest Williams is another neighbor. He said Wilcox was a friendly person who had an appreciation for the outdoors.
"He loved fishing and he just enjoyed, from my understanding, just being around people," Williams said.
He described the situation as "kind of horrifying to see that. I was hoping there wasn't anyone in the trailer, but we heard news that he was inside at the time."
Williams said the toughest part was seeing his friend's family so upset.
"His two daughters and I believe his son, they were devastated to look at what was going on when the trailer was engulfed in flames. It was sad to see that," he said.
At last check, the Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office had not completed the autopsy. They said they hope to have it completed on Friday. The medical examiners were unable to identify the victim through dental records because he wore dentures. They are looking through medical records instead.
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