Aug. 1, 1979 Gastonia Gaston County North Carolina, USA
Fire wipes out family in North Carolina
Gastonia, North Carolina - "Oh, it hurts. I just don't understand this" sobbed a 23-year-old factory worker when he learned the news that his wife and three children had perished in a fire that completely destroyed their home.
According to the police, the fire apparently started when the pilot light on the water heater iginited fumes seeping from a gasoline can in the utility room.
"Everything just seemed to be going so good for us, "Bobby Eugene Gwinn said, "It just doesn't seen real, like this could happen."
Fire officals said South Gastonia volunteer fire fighter found Gwin's wife Jean 22, in the living room of the gutted house, Wednesday, Aug 1. They said she had stumbled over a chair and tried to break a window to get out.
Sherika Gwinn 3, was on the front bedroom floor. The two other Gwinn children, Janelle and Jeanette, both seven-month-olds were side-by-side in a crib in the rear bedroom.
The only survivor of the blaze was Gwinn's grandmother Susie Gwinn 72, who managed to escape the house without being injured.
South Gastonia Fire Department Assistant Chief Calvin Rodden said Mrs. Gwinn died at the scene of smoke inhalation.
He said fire fighters made a vain effort to revive the children, but the twins died en route to the local hospital and the other child died at the hospital.
Gwinn was at his job at a South Carolina glove factory, when he was informed of the fire and rushed to the scene.
Gwinn said he and his wife was his high school sweetheart, "didn't have a lot of money, but we sure were happy."
He said they saved for years to buy a home, moved into the house in late May and celebrated with a family outing July 4th. Street Address 4904 April Drive Gastonia, Gaston County, North Carolina