Two killed in Hoke County fire

February 20, 2008 4:39:01 PM PST
Fire investigators say two men never made it out of a early morning house fire in Hoke County.

It's believed the fire started in a front bedroom.

Just about everyone knew J.C. McNair. They called him Big Mac. He was a former lumberjack with big hands and an even bigger heart.

"He needed me last night, and I wasn't here," daughter Brenda McNair said. "My Dad didn't have to die like this. I just felt he wasn't supposed to die -- not like this."

Tears flowed freely Wednesday afternoon as family and friends gathers at the family home place.

Located next door is the badly burned shell of the home Big Mac McNair and lived in for 40 years.

Joseph, his oldest son, said he heard the dog barking early Wednesday morning, looked outside and saw flames racing through his 71-year-old father's home.

"I couldn't go in there," Joe said. "I would have went in there to get my Dad. He was my Father and my best friend."

Firemen found McNair's body in one room and his brother-in-law's, 65-year-old Preston McPhaul, in another. They suspect a space heater sparked the fire that took a family patriarch but no his spirit.

"He could do anything," Joe said. "If he could do anything for you, he would sure do it."

Big Mac's wife gave her children some words of wisdom. "I told the children already, that they are going to have to continue on doing what he expects out of them like he did when he was living."


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