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Deputies: Child’s play with lighter sparks fatal fire

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KENLY — A child playing with a lighter started a fire that resulted in the deaths of a father and son on Sunday.

The fatal fire happened at 1592 Beulahtown Road, which is between Glendale Road and Bay Valley Road northwest of Kenly.

David William Creech, 37, and his 2-year-old son Matthew Creech died in the blaze, according to Capt. Jeff Caldwell of the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office.

Caldwell said firefighters found the father and son in the toddler’s bedroom.

Three other victims were able to make it out of the house and were taken to UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.

The survivors were Serena Brock, 36, who was David Creech’s girlfriend, and two of Creech’s other children, Johnny Creech, 10, and Bryson Creech, 3.

Brock and the two Creech children are listed in stable but serious condition, Caldwell said.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and Kenly Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene at 10:57 a.m. Sunday.

“It was an old wooden farm-type house with no hallway and doors between all of the rooms,” Caldwell said.

Fire investigators determined the fire to be intentionally set as a result of a child playing with a lighter, Caldwell said in a release.

“We believe it to be a little torch-type cigarette lighter,” Caldwell said. “The point of origin was the toddler’s bed. That’s where the fire started.”

Caldwell said it was not clear which child was playing with the lighter.

No firefighters were hurt while responding to the blaze, Caldwell said.

Johnston County Sheriff’s Office investigators, the Johnston County Emergency Service Fire Marshal Division, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the joint investigation of the fatal fire.

According to a release from Caldwell, “the investigation is ongoing, but no criminal act is believed to have occurred at this time.”

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