Sunday morning, about 9:05, the Roanoke Rapids Fire Department was dispatched to the 100 block of Jackson Street near Food Lion in reference to a structure fire, claiming one life.

According to a press release from Roanoke Rapids Police Department Chief Bobby Martin, the victim, Raymond Rainey, 71, who lived there alone, did not survive the fire.

Upon arrival, fire crews found a single family residential home with heavy fire coming from the front, according to a press release from Chief Jason Patrick. Firefighters were immediately able to knock the fire back to begin searching inside for Rainey, reported by neighbors to be still inside the home. He was located and removed from the home so EMS personnel could provide patient care and was transported by Halifax County EMS to Vidant North in Roanoke Rapids.

Fire crews continued with extinguishment of the fire and began to conduct overhaul which consisted of extinguishing hot spots and fire within walls, Patrick reported. Roughly 25% of the home received fire damage with the remaining areas sustaining heat and smoke.

After the fire was completely extinguished, fire and police staff began investigating for a cause of the fire, which appeared to have started within the living room area of the home. No exact cause was determined, but the room had a wood burning stove located within.

Martin reported the fire did not appear suspicious. One firefighter was injured and transported to Vidant North where he has since been released, according to Patrick.

RRFD’s initial response was with nine on-duty firefighters and second alarm consisted of 18 off-duty personnel. Also assisting fire crews were Roanoke Valley Rescue Squad, Halifax County EMS and RRPD. Crews cleared from the scene roughly at noon.

No further information is available at this time.

Barry Smith, assistant director of Public Affairs, and Ben Powell, Public Information officer N.C. Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal, shared some timely information for winter heating safety.

Did you know:

• Space heaters, portable or stationary, account for more than two out of five (44%) home heating fires and four out of five (86%) home heating fire deaths.

• The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) is failure to clean creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

• Fifty-four% of home heating fire deaths are contributed to heating equipment too close to objects that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

• Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.

Top safety tips:

• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.

• Have a 3-foot, kid-free zone around open fires and space heaters.

• Never use an oven to heat a home.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

• When refueling kerosene heaters, be sure to move them outside to refill.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from the home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month.The following is an “Electrical heater live fire demo,” also by the OSFM, available at YouTube, at