The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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April 27, 2012

UPDATE: Palestine fire ruled suspicious

Friday, April 27, 2012 — The Stanly County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the Stanly County Fire Marshall's office and other agencies, is investigating a house fire near the Palestine community that resulted in the death of two individuals.

According to Sheriff Rick Burris, fire crews were dispatched to a house fire on Smiley Road, Albemarle, in the Palestine Mobile Home Park at approximately 6:09 a.m. Friday. Upon arrival, crews discovered the mobile home was fully involved.

Two people were found inside the home, according to Burris, though the sheriff's office cannot make a positive identification for either individual at this time due to the extent of their injuries.

A family member, Konda Morton, however, identified the two individuals as her grandparents, Thelma Britt and E.D. “Bud” Hopkins, both of whom have lived at the residence for a long time.

Officials have not released the cause of the fire at this time as the incident is still under investigation.

“It does appear to be a suspicious fire, and we have a person of interest in custody at this time. They have not been arrested but they are in custody,” Burris said.

More information will be released as it is made available.

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