Deadly house fire ruled accidental

By DeeAnna Haney | Sep 03, 2014

A deadly house fire that occurred at a residence off Eagle's Nest Road in May has been ruled accidental.

Homeowner Jay Twomey, 67, called 9-1-1 around 3 a.m. May 21 when he and his wife, Linda, escaped his burning mountain home. According to comments from his wife to detectives, her husband disappeared after she rescued their dog from another area of the property.

"We do know that he was out and that he went back in, but we don't know why he went back in," said Lt. Chris Chandler with the Waynesville Police Department.

He and the family's cat, Kitty, perished in the fire, which was jointly investigated by the Waynesville Police Department, Waynesville Fire Department, State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms enforcement.

The investigation revealed the fire burned from the outside into the home, which is "highly unusual" in an arson, Chandler said.

"That tells us that it is consistent with the suspected cause of the fire. The area of origin was around the gas grill," he said.

Linda Twomey told detectives the couple had used the grill to cook dinner earlier in the evening. Though investigators aren't certain it was the grill that started the fire, her story is consistent with the results of the investigation.

"It was a type of grill that was hard lined, so it basically had a free supply of gas," Chandler said.

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