PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Investigators are still investigating a fire that killed three family members outside Elizabeth City.
WAVY reached out to the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, but they were closed for the holiday. What we do know is that a call came in from the house on Millpond Road around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 13.
On January 19, the Pasquotank County Fire Marshal’s Office stated that the fire began in the living home area of the house. Officials declared the fire as accidental and a result of a malfunctioning heating appliance inside the home.
According to other family members, Mary Williams said that her house was on fire, she was having trouble breathing, and she was on the floor and couldn’t get up.
That was right before she died.
Williams family member Robert Williams said: “I said it was a big explosion, and I came outside, and I heard Quintin yelling for my wife to call the fire department.”
Quintin Herring says he saw the fireball, and raced to the house to save Mary Williams, her daughter and her grandson.
Herring took video, and in it you can see the fire, and Herring repeatedly saying, “Oh my God, please … Oh my God, please.”
Out in front of the house now stand three crosses for the victims: Mary Williams, Roxie Ann Williams and Jeremiah Williams.
Mary, 71, who also known as Geraldine, was a member of Open-Door Christian Fellowship Church.
Quintin told us “she was a good woman. She’d keep you laughing a lot. She was always happy, and never sad.”
Roxie Ann, 44, was also called Roxanne by family.
“She was a nice girl. She was sickly and everything, but she was friendly,” Herring added.
A third cross reads Jeremiah, but the family called him Tommy. He was 19 and seemed to be closest with Herring.
“Tommy, oh Tommy he was my riding partner. I’d be riding four wheelers’, but I guess I won’t have a good riding partner anymore.”
Due to the immense fireball, to get Tommy firefighters had to cut a hole in the house to pull him out. In that clip of video from Herring, you can hear him encouraging Tommy to get up.
“Get up Tommy. Come on Tommy, hang in there.”
Quintin said: “By him hearing my voice, I was encouraging him to get up to fight … I felt helpless. I felt helpless to see my family, my cousins go away from right in front of my eyesight.”
Herring shows us the back door he went in to try to get the three out of the house,
“The smoke here got to me. I could get no farther. I tried to get into that door, but I couldn’t see, I couldn’t see.”
Quintin yelled their names, no answer, and he ran to the front of the house.
“I wasn’t getting any response, so I kept breaking windows out, but there was no response at all.”
Quintin thought about what he did spur of the moment when faced with the fatal fire.
“Even though I never thought I would run into a burning house, and try to save somebody, but you never know what you would do until the time comes. I didn’t think about my own life I just went in to help.”
Since Friday, amidst the loss, Quintin asked is there life after death? He thinks he found the answer.
“Have you thought about life after death? Well, I have. I have been sitting in the heat of the house, and suddenly a cold draft blows by me, and I get cold. This has happened three times since Saturday. I think they are trying to tell me, ‘Thanks’ for trying. For at least trying.”