05/13/17 — Officials investigate suspicious fire

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Officials investigate suspicious fire

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on May 13, 2017 11:38 PM

Authorities are investigating a fire that burned a garage attached to a home at 1804 S. Slocumb St. early Thursday morning.

Assistant Goldsboro Fire Chief Eric Lancaster said the fire has been ruled as undetermined, and the cause has not yet been determined.

Lancaster said there were five people inside the house when the fire began in the attached garage just after 5 a.m. Thursday.

"The father (Jeffrey Patrick) woke up and smelled smoke, went to the kitchen, saw smoke, went to the laundry room, which is attached to the attached garage, and he saw more smoke," Lancaster said. "His son woke up and went outside. The attached garage does not have a garage door. The opening to it is just open. What they do is they have a four by eight sheet of plywood they just kind of lean against that opening."

Lancaster said the son, Steven Patrick, spotted a pushmower and a cabinet on the floor with clothes and miscellaneous items in it that were on fire behind the sheet of plywood.

The family then called the fire department and put the fire out with a garden hose.

Lancaster said the son told authorities that people are in and out of the garage at times.

"We ruled out any kind of accidental cause since the door was more or less unsecured," Lancaster said. "We didn't have a source of why the fire started and the mower in question that burned, he said it hadn't been run in about three days."

A fire report said Steven Patrick told the fire department he believed the fire was suspicious because there was a misplaced gas can moved close beside a pushmower and an out-of-place folding chair inside the garage.

He also told police that the people who come in and out of the carport all the time are people he doesn't even know, according to the fire report.

Lancaster said the investigation into the fire continues.