LENOIR, N.C. -- Authorities were investigating a house fire in Lenoir after a man's body was found in the home.
The flames broke out around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday at 213 Sunset Street. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control fairly quickly. Then, they discovered 61-year-old Kenneth Ray Owens who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the fire was believed to be accidental. Investigators blamed an overloaded surge protector.
"The only thing that was left was the metal components in it, and we had blades from appliances still in there," Deputy Fire Chief Ken Hair said.
He said an electric heater was among the plugged-in appliances.
"That's why on these heating appliances they tell you, 'plug directly into an outlet,'" Dep. Chief Hair said.
Johnny Church lives just down the road from Owens's home, and he watched as the flames tore through the house.
He agreed that too many people plug too many appliances into a surge protector creating the risk of a fire
"The flames were already out on the porch and everything," Church said. "It was just a tragic loss for him losing his life."
The case was a joint investigation among Lenoir Police Department, the Lenoir Fire Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.