Man dies in early morning blaze

Cause is undetermined; remains sent off for autopsy

BULADEAN – An early morning fire this past Monday at a home in Buladean has claimed a man’s life.

It is believed Charles Ray Gardner, 68, who was living in the house, died in the fire.

Buladean Fire Chief Darren Duncan discovered heavy smoke coming from the eaves of a residence located at 12424 N. Highway 226 and the home was soon fully engulfed, according to a press release from the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office.

A medical alert device notified a home health nurse shortly before 6:30 a.m. Upon arrival, first responders heard dogs, but there was no response from Gardner. Attempts were made to search the house, although explosions, possibly from oxygen tanks, forced firemen to concentrate on the fire, according to the press release. Firemen rescued one of two family dogs.

The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation were requested to help locate Gardner. After extinguishing most the flames, the burnt remains of a male subject were recovered in the rear of the house.

“It appeared the subject attempted to retreat to a rear exit before succumbing to smoke and/or fire,” according to the press release. “The human remains will be sent to Winston-Salem for autopsy for a positive identification.”

The exact cause of the fire is undetermined, however, the fire possibly originated near the kitchen, where a wood-heating stove was burning. The stoves ash dump appeared to be overflowing and the ash door was left open, according to the press release.

The MItchell News

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