ONSLOW COUNTY - A weekend fire has a grim family connection to a blaze that killed three children last year.
According to Onslow County Fire Marshal Brian Kelly, the fire happened at a home on Humphrey Boulevard around 7:15 Saturday night. Fire official say they were able to put out the fire around 11:30 p.m. The fire left severe damage to the left side of the home. Kelly declared the home a total loss.
Steve Swinsol lives across the street from the Stiles family. He said once he realized something was wrong Saturday night, he called 911.
"I saw a bunch of white smoke coming out the front window," said Swinsol. "By the time the fire departments got here the flames were engulfing the roof."
No one was hurt and the Stiles family was not inside the home when the fire started.
It's a feeling of loss the Stiles family knows all too well. In February of 2012, an Onslow County fire destroyed the home of some of their extended family, the Pittmans. The fire killed three of the eight Pittman children. The mother and father along with five children made it out, but the three children who didn't make it out were asleep in a downstairs living room.
Swinsol said it was a tragedy that devastated the community. He said he is just happy the Stiles family is safe.
"Just fortunate the Lord was looking out for them and there wasn't anyone in the home and didn't lose their lives," Swinsol said.
The mother in the Stiles family is the sister of the Pittman mother, Johnetta.
Fire Marshal Kelly said due to the extent of the damage, investigators are unable to determine what started the fire and it is ruled undetermined.
The home is damaged to the point where the residents can no longer stay in the home, investigators said.
The Stiles family told NewsChannel 12 they are receiving help from the Red Cross and staying with family members.
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