SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WNCN) — The arrest of a suspect in connection with a fatal house fire in Southern Pines has not closed the case; investigators say they’ve still got more work to do.
Meanwhile, those who live in the neighborhood where it happened say they are breathing a bit easier now that police are making progress.
Patricia McMillan recalls the horror of learning the house next door at 890 W. Lowe Ave. was ablaze back on the night of June 15.
“I was devastated,’’ she said. “It was terrible. I was laying in my bed asleep and my son woke me up and told me the house was on fire next door.”
The house had been converted to three apartments.
Investigators say the fire started in the rear part of the structure and roared through the building.
Perishing in that blaze was a 72-year-old neighbor McMillan knew as Mr. Sloan and a woman identified by police as 31-year-old Lindsay Farwell.
‘’They was stuck in there hollering for help,” She recalled.
In the days that followed, McMillan lead the effort to erect memorials to the victims on the front lawn of the burned out home.
“Everyone pretty much from the neighborhood came around; we lit candles and had a prayer,” she said.
This weekend police announced the arrest of 33-year-old Edward Ager III, charging him with arson and two counts of murder. McMillan recalled seeing hang around the neighborhood in the days before the fire.
“I feel a little bit more comfortable now knowing that a person has been arrested,” she said. “I can sleep a little better; but its sad this had to happen.”
Investigators tell WNCN News there’s more to the story of what happened at the home that night, but they say it’s extremely complex and due to the nature of that complexity and the ongoing investigation — they can’t talk about right now.
They hope to release more information soon.
Ager remains in jail held on no bond. His first court appearance will be July 28.