Shock and sorrow – it's the only way to describe the mood after a neighborhood unexpectedly loses one of its own.
"I tried to get up there, but they wouldn't let me," says Michael Watson, a neighbor and friend. "He's my buddy. It has tore me up. I'm going to miss him."
Just before 5 a.m. Monday, a fire broke out at 138 Gulick Drive off Highway 11 in Lenoir County.
That's where firefighters found 76-year-old Jacob Rogers dead in his bed.
They believe it was an accidental electrical fire that started with extension cords near a hot water heater.
"You do feel helpless," says Debbie Rogers, Jacob Rogers' daughter. "Like you can't do nothing. But you were hoping when you're here, you could get there in time."
Rogers was wheelchair-bound, but firefighters say there was no sign he tried to escape.
He had six children and 11 grandchildren, and those closest to him say reality has not set in yet.
"At first, I guess you're numb and you just can't believe it," Debbie says. "You just feel numb."
And now that he's gone…
"He's in Heaven," Watson says. H"e ain't got to suffer no more. He's in Heaven."
--- Original Story ---
An early morning house fire killed a wheelchair-bound elderly man.
It happened just before 5 o'clock Monday morning at a home on Gulick Drive in Lenoir Mobile Estates. That's just off of Highway 11-55 South in Lenoir County.
The man's son tells 9 On Your Side 76ear-old Jacob Franklin Rogers was wheelchair-bound and lived by himself for a very long time.
Fire officials are on the scene right now. They believe the fire was accidental and started from extension cords.
3221 South Evans Street
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