2 children dead in Sampson County house fire, another injured trying to save them

Michael Lozano Image
Friday, July 2, 2021
2 children dead, 1 injured in Sampson County house fire
Two children died Friday in a mobile-home fire in Sampson County and a third was injured trying to save them.

ROSEBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Sampson County family is holding each other close as they try to process the loss of two 3-year-olds, Derek and Olivia.

"I just miss my baby ... I miss them," mother Jasmine Simpson told ABC11.

The two children died Friday in a mobile-home fire in Sampson County and a third was injured trying to save them.

It happened about 9:15 a.m. in the 8800 block of Roseboro Highway.

Simpson was in the house when the smoke detector went off early this morning and rushed to her children's room.

Derek and Olivia were 3 years old.
Courtesy of the family

"I jumped out the bed, I went to the baby's room, tried to save them, but I couldn't," she said.

Simpson's oldest son, 12, tried breaking through the window of that bedroom to get to his siblings.

The Sampson County Sheriff's Office said he suffered serious cuts in the effort and was taken to Sampson Regional Medical Center for treatment of his lacerations. Family members told ABC11 that the boy was being transferred to UNC Medical Center for further treatment.

"Every time I come up here, they always run up to me. You know, I try to have something for them," Gregory Joyner, the children's uncle told ABC11. "Its just, you know, they're going to be missed very much"

A Sampson County deputy who was the first at the scene tried to get into the house in a rescue effort but could not because the structure was engulfed in flames.

Roseboro Fire Chief Lee Coleman said this is one of the most difficult fires he has ever had to deal with. He said the tragic loss of life "will have a lasting impact on this community."

"The front bedroom on the far end of the trailer, that was fully engulfed in flames," Coleman said.

Fire departments from Roseboro, Clinton, Salemburg, Autryville, Taylor's Bridge, Beaver Dam and Garland responded.

The two younger children were found in the bedroom they shared.

"They were so full of life, so full of joy," Simpson said. "Only thing they loved was their family."

Two families totaling nine people occupied the doublewide mobile home.

"I always passed here every day and blow the horn," Joyner said. "I stop in every now and then and holler at them. Great kids, great family. Nieces and nephew, you know, something that shouldn't happen but it happen."

The Red Cross is assisting the families and is also working to assist with final expenses for the two victims.

The NC State Bureau of Investigation and the NC Office of the State Fire Marshal have been asked to assist in the investigation to determine the origin of the fire.

Simpson and the rest of the family are leaning on each other more than ever Friday evening, asking one thing from the community:

"If y'all know any words of prayer, we can use them right now," Joyner said.