Blaze happened during snow storm last week

The investigation into a fatal house fire Jan. 4 in the Harlowe area of Craven County continues.

The body of William Godette, 70, was found Jan. 4 in the burned-down, two-story home at 290 Nancy Jane Road.

An investigation into Godette’s death is continuing, though nothing suspicious has been found “as far as we know,” said Captain John Whitford of the Craven County Sheriff’s Office. A cause for the fire has not been released.

It is believed the fire started sometime late on Jan. 3 or early on Jan. 4 when the area was receiving 3 to 4 inches of snow with gusty winds associated with a winter storm. It was not reported to firefighters until around noon on Jan. 4. Craven County Emergency Management Director Stanley Kite said that by the time firefighters arrived on scene, the building was already gone and “there was nothing but smoke.”

A dog that was believed to have lived in the home survived.

According to the N.C. Department of Insurance, 11 people have died in fires in the first nine days of 2018 across the state. In 2017, nine people died in fires during the entire month of January. In all of 2017, 83 people died in fires across the state.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the United States.

The N.C. Department of Insurance offers several safety tips to prevent fires.

Portable heaters should have a three-foot circle in which nothing is near them and should be turned off when leaving a room or going to bed. Make sure the proper fuel specified by the manufacturer is used for fuel-burning heaters. Make sure children are not playing around any portable heater or fireplace.

Fireplaces should have sturdy screens to prevent sparks from flying into the room, and ashes should be cool before being deposited in a metal container and stored away from the home or any outdoor building.

The department also recommends that smoke detectors be tested once a month to make sure they are in working order.

More information is available on the N.C. Department of Insurance website at