On Thursday (December 9) at approximately 1:45 p.m., Burke County Emergency Communications received a report of a structure fire, possibly with an occupant still inside the residence at 5580 Wilkies Grove Church Road in Hickory. The George Hildebran Fire Department was dispatched to the address.
The fire department arrived on scene to find a two‐story residential structure with flames coming from the basement garage door. One of the occupants told arriving units they believed one person was still inside, unable to escape. Firefighters immediately began search and rescue efforts in conjunction with fire suppression tactics.
On the initial search and fire attack, firefighters experienced a partial collapse of the upper floor forcing them to exit and begin a defensive attack. Once the fire was under control, they were able to resume search efforts discovering a female victim deceased in a rear bedroom of the lower floor. One occupant was transported to Frye Regional Hospital with burns and smoke inhalation.
Firefighters remained on the scene for more than six hours for overhaul and investigation efforts. Firefighters from George Hildebran, South Mountain, Icard, Enola and Lovelady Fire Departments responded with equipment and manpower to extinguish the fire. Mutual aid resources from the Cooksville Fire Department in Cleveland County and Mountain View Fire Department from Catawba County responded to support water supply and manpower efforts.
The Burke County Fire Marshal’s Office, Burke County EMS, Burke County REACT, Burke County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) also
responded to assist with the fire.
The Burke County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire in conjunction with the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI. Positive identification of the victim will be determined by the Medical Examiner. The cause and origin of the fire is currently under investigation.