TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) -- A woman struggles to drag her husband from their burning home, but she just couldn't get him out. The disabled man died in the early-morning fire in Columbus County. Flames hurt the wife.
Travis Wright died in the fire that happened at about 4:30 a.m. off Minos Meares Road in Tabor City. Wright was in his 70s and needed assistance walking around.
"I've known him since I was a little kid," Jerod Strickland said. "He was like a really close friend, him and his wife, so it's pretty hard."
Columbus County Fire Marshal Scott Merritt says Wright's wife Sudie tried to get him out. She got him to the door, but he didn't make it.
The Wrights have deep roots in the community. South Columbus High School is right down the street from the Wrights' home. Family and friends said the Wrights sold the land to the county back in the 1990s so that school could be built.
Merritt says the blaze started in the Wrights' living room. Neighbors called 911, and several fire departments responded.
Merritt says stormy weather overnight did not contribute to the fire.
"We'd contacted the National Weather Service, and the nearest lightning strike was in Nichols, SC, so we automatically ruled that out," he said.
The wrights took trips to NASCAR races together in their RV. They had been married for about 50 years.
"He loved to drive the tractor and stuff like that," Strickland said. "Him and his wife used to go behind the field right here down the road and look at the deer and stuff like that. I mean, he weren't never in no hurry."
Wright's family and friends say he was just a wonderful man. He was retired, but he worked as a ticket marker for tobacco companies most of his life.
Sudie Wright is in the hospital with minor injuries.
The SBI, Columbus County Sheriff's Office and the Fire Marshal's Office are investigating. Merritt says the fire appears to be accidental.