KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY - Police have identified an elderly man who died from a house fire in Kinston over the weekend.
According to the Kinston Department of Public Safety, the deceased victim is 94-year-old Isaac Kirkman.
Investigators said the fire happened at about 10:21 p.m. Saturday at a home on the 1,300 block of Holman Street in Kinston. Once firefighters arrived at the scene, the house had heavy smoke and flames.
Crews were able to remove Kirkman from the home. The man was then taken to Lenoir Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Kinston Department of Public Safety.
Roise Goddard said Kirkman is her 10-year-old son's grandfather.
"Mr. Kirkman, he was just so full of life. I mean a very church going man. I loved him to death. Anytime I needed a helping hand he was there for me," she said.
Neighbors Raymond Rhem and Ronald Daniels said they looked from their windows and saw the flames.
"I went over there and felt the door and see if i could get in. It was too hot I couldn't, so I went around the back, but too much smoke," Rhem explained.
Both said they tried to rescue their neighbor but it was too late.
"I came out of the house dialed 911 explaining to them that there is an older man in this home," Daniels said.
Neighbors said Kirkman was found in a back bedroom here in his home on the ground.
Family and friends say until the day he died he didn't let his age hold him back.
"I know he lived a good life. He's in heaven now, he's in a better place," Goddard said.
Family and friends tell NewsChannel 12 Kirkman was a hardworking man who loved the Lord and his family. Kirkman was a deacon at Hickory Grove Church in Kinston and also a Veteran.
Neighbors said they were told by hospital officials that Kirkman died of smoke inhalation.
There is no word on what exactly led to the fire, which caused about $50,000 in damage to the home and $15,000 in damage to the items inside, officials said. The investigation is ongoing and interviews are expected.