ROCKINGHAM — Local and state law enforcement are investigating a weekend house fire where a man was found dead.
Fire crews received the call around 4:40 Sunday morning and responded to 127 South Skipper St., where they found the house 80 percent involved with flames, according to Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler.
He said the flames were shooting out of the roof 30 to 35 feet into the air, and he could see them rising above the treeline from the intersection of South Long Drive and U.S. 1 while he was on his way.
Isler and Matthew Locklear made the first entry into the home with a hose to suppress the fire, but said they backed out when the roof collapsed on the back side of the house.
With 17 firefighters and two engines on-scene, Isler sent in a primary search team of Keith Kottwitz and Nick Wolfard, who found the body of a man on a couch in the living room area.
Isler said he advised them to leave the body where it was.
“With the conditions…I knew the chances of having a (savable life were) slim to none,” he said.
Firefighters went back in on a secondary search, but no other victims were found.
“We didn’t know how many people could have been in there,” Isler said.
According to the chief, it appears the fire started at the back of the house, where he noticed that the floor was burned out.
He added that he was writing the house off as a total loss, and there were no injuries or other property damage sustained during the blaze, which crews had under control within 30 minutes.
Officers with the Rockingham Police Department were dispatched within minutes of the fire department.
Police Chief Billy Kelly said Monday that the victim sustained injuries that were not caused by the fire, but would not release any more details, as to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
The victim, whose name has not yet been released, was scheduled for an autopsy Monday to determine the cause of death, Kelly said.
The chief added that the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation was called in for assistance in determining the cause of the fire and the injuries of the victim.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.