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Deadly Jackson County House Fire

UPDATE (8/27): News 13 has an update on the cause of a deadly fire in Cullowhee. The State Bureau of Investigation says the cause of the house fire on NC 107 in Tuckasegee was electrical.

The fire broke out early in the morning, two weeks ago. Thirty-two-year-old Jennifer Ludwig died in the fire. A man who also lived in the home with Ludwig, Thad Schrader, was injured in the fire.
Investigators are looking for the cause of a fatal fire in Jackson County Thursday morning. It broke out in a house in Cullowhee just after 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning, along Highway 107. A passerby called 911 for help.

The name of the victim won't be released until all family members are notified, but investigators remained on the scene Thursday looking for the cause of the fire witnessed by neighbors like Johnny Lovedahl. "I woke up around 6 and I seen flames over there coming up through the roof, was up in the air.  Then a little later there's an explosion over there so something, a propane tank or something had blew up," he says.

Lovedahl called his niece who lives on Highway 107 not far from the fire scene. "There's a lot of black things laying around in my yard that floated over here, leaves and pieces...from the fire," says Rita Carver.

Cullowhee Fire Chief Tim Green says crews had a lot of work to do upon arrival. "Whole front side of the house was fully involved, porch area, front living room area."

Chief Green says, they learned of someone inside. A body was recovered and turned over to the medical examiner's office for identification and cause of death.

Neighbors say the resident was a blacksmith. They're left wondering what might have sparked the fire. "It's an old house.  It might have been wiring or something," says Carver.

Chief Green says a second person was in the house, and was treated and released from the hospital. Just how the fire started is in the hands of the fire marshal, the sheriff's office, and the State Bureau of Investigation.

By: Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS


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