UPDATE: Fatal Hubert fire ruled accidental; victim identified


A man who died in an Onslow County house fire has been identified.

John C. Bell, 78, died in a fire authorities said was accidental.

Deputies said Bell had lived at the residence since 1981.

The fire was extinguished within minutes of the fire department arriving on scene.

Bell did not made it out, although family members tried to save him.

The NC State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Fire Marshal’s Office, and Onslow County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into the cause of the fire and has ruled it accidental.

Any information related to case 2018-006025 contact the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or the Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.


A fatal house fire in Hubert Monday morning left one person dead and a community shaken.

“He was a good man, I can tell you that.,” said Danny Garner, a neighbor. “He would give you the shirt right off his back. I loved him to death.”

The fire occurred on Abbitts Branch Lane in the Bear Creek Mobile Home community off Shell Rock Landing Road. 

“When crews arrived, they found the house behind me on fire,”  said Brian Kelly, Onslow fire marshall. And unfortunately we did have one fatality as a result of the fire.”

Onslow County Fire and Rescue, Piney Green, Swansboro, and Hubert Fire and EMS all responded to the scene. 

Many neighbors in the Bear Creek Community are related to the homeowner who passed away. Even those who weren’t’t say that in a small community like that, neighbors feel like family.

“The old folks, we kind of stick together,” said Garner. “Look out for each other. It’s just a great place to live.”

Garner said he wished he could have done something to help. 

“I’ve got to live with that,” he said. “That I should have stopped there yesterday and checked on him.”

Garner said he cannot imagine something so horrible happening so close to home.

“It’s just one of those things you never think of,” said Garner. “I hear about Swansboro or Maysville or somewhere else. You don’t hear about it right here. Especially your next door neighbor.”

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