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Old 03-07-2012, 07:06 PM   #1
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This broke my heart when I saw It on the news. A true hero right there.

HOPE MILLS - A Special Forces soldier and his two young daughters died Tuesday when a fire swept through their home off Cameron Road, authorities said.

Edward Duane Cantrell, 36; Isabella Cantrell, 6; and Natalia Cantrell, 4, died in the fire just before 2 a.m., according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

"You just don't expect stuff like this to happen," said Brittany Starling, who came Tuesday morning for Sasha, the family's Rottweiler.

Cantrell was a chief warrant officer 2 assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg and had returned in August from a mission in Afghanistan, a military spokeswoman said.

The fire that destroyed the 91-year-old house at 4151 Pecan Drive is believed to be accidental, but the cause had not been pinpointed by Tuesday afternoon, said Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

Louise Cantrell, 37, the only survivor, knocked on the door of The A.R.C. of Hope Mills, an assisted living facility next to the house, shouting for help at 1:20 a.m.

"One of my employees saw her at the door; she had (soot) all over her, and she was just devastated," said administrator Cindy Jacobs. "She said, 'My kids are in there, my husband's in there,' " Jacobs said.

She and her husband escaped through a window, Tanna said.

Edward Cantrell then wrapped himself in a blanket and went back in to rescue his daughters, Tanna said.

Flames were leaping from the first floor, and thick, black smoke was pouring from the second floor of the house when Cotton Fire Department firefighters arrived, Deputy Chief Hank Harris said.

"When you pull up and see cars in the yard, kids' toys, and you see no one running around, you know it's not good," Harris said.

Firefighters had problems with the heat and heavy smoke, Harris said, and it took about two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Additions to the house through the years resulted in what Harris called "a lot of hidden fire."

The fire was so intense, he said, all firefighters were ordered out of the house once the victims had been recovered.

Pecan Drive is about a mile east of Hope Mills Middle School and about a half-mile south of the Cameron and Elk roads intersection.

Firefighters had to fill trucks with water at the nearest hydrant, about a half-mile away, and bring it back to the fire, Harris said.

It was about 7:30 a.m. before firefighters began to leave and arson investigators began their task, walking around the house, surveying the damage.

In the front yard were children's toys, including a small soccer goal. More toys were visible in the side yard.

Parked in the driveway were a pickup and an older-model Volkswagen.

According to tax records, the three-bedroom home was built in 1920 and was the home, at one time, of Thomas Bynum, the first Hope Mills resident to serve in the state's General Assembly, said Eddie Dees, former mayor and town historian.

Cantrell was an assistant detachment commander of a Special Forces A Team, said Lt. Col. April Olsen, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg.

Cantrell had completed six combat deployments - five to Afghanistan and one to Iraq - since enlisting in the Army in 1994, Olsen said.

Cantrell returned from his last deployment in August, Olsen said.

His awards included a Purple Heart and five Bronze Stars, Olsen said.

"The soldiers and families of Special Forces Regiment are deeply saddened by this tragedy," Olsen said. "There are no words to express the sorrow felt in our close-knit community when one of our families suffers such a loss. We will continue to provide the family our support, our friendship and our prayers, and ask that the public respects their right to privately grieve."

Isabella was a kindergarten student at Ed Baldwin Elementary School, said Principal Todd Yardis.

Isabella, he said, was a happy girl who loved coming to school, loved her friends and her teacher.

Grief counselors were on campus to help students and staff cope with the 6-year-old's death, he said.

Crisis counselors also were called to Cotton Fire Department to help shaken firefighters, especially younger ones, deal with the deaths, Fire Chief Owen Harris said.

Louise Cantrell was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for smoke inhalation and released, Tanna said.

She and her husband were active at Baldwin Elementary, Yardis said, frequently volunteering to help with class projects.

"Dad going in to be a hero shows how much their kids meant to them," Yardis said.

"He loved the kids," Starling said.

If there is a saving grace, Yardis said, it's the resilient nature and innocence of Isabella's classmates.

"In some aspects, it's a blessing that they are kindergartners," Yardis said. "One of the kid's comment was, 'That means she can't come to my birthday party.' Another said, 'At least she went to heaven, not the other way.' "

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Old 03-07-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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This broke my heart when I saw It on the news. A true hero right there.

HOPE MILLS - A Special Forces soldier and his two young daughters died Tuesday when a fire swept through their home off Cameron Road, authorities said.

Edward Duane Cantrell, 36; Isabella Cantrell, 6; and Natalia Cantrell, 4, died in the fire just before 2 a.m., according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

"You just don't expect stuff like this to happen," said Brittany Starling, who came Tuesday morning for Sasha, the family's Rottweiler.

Cantrell was a chief warrant officer 2 assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg and had returned in August from a mission in Afghanistan, a military spokeswoman said.

The fire that destroyed the 91-year-old house at 4151 Pecan Drive is believed to be accidental, but the cause had not been pinpointed by Tuesday afternoon, said Debbie Tanna, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

Louise Cantrell, 37, the only survivor, knocked on the door of The A.R.C. of Hope Mills, an assisted living facility next to the house, shouting for help at 1:20 a.m.

"One of my employees saw her at the door; she had (soot) all over her, and she was just devastated," said administrator Cindy Jacobs. "She said, 'My kids are in there, my husband's in there,' " Jacobs said.

She and her husband escaped through a window, Tanna said.

Edward Cantrell then wrapped himself in a blanket and went back in to rescue his daughters, Tanna said.

Flames were leaping from the first floor, and thick, black smoke was pouring from the second floor of the house when Cotton Fire Department firefighters arrived, Deputy Chief Hank Harris said.

"When you pull up and see cars in the yard, kids' toys, and you see no one running around, you know it's not good," Harris said.

Firefighters had problems with the heat and heavy smoke, Harris said, and it took about two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Additions to the house through the years resulted in what Harris called "a lot of hidden fire."

The fire was so intense, he said, all firefighters were ordered out of the house once the victims had been recovered.

Pecan Drive is about a mile east of Hope Mills Middle School and about a half-mile south of the Cameron and Elk roads intersection.

Firefighters had to fill trucks with water at the nearest hydrant, about a half-mile away, and bring it back to the fire, Harris said.

It was about 7:30 a.m. before firefighters began to leave and arson investigators began their task, walking around the house, surveying the damage.

In the front yard were children's toys, including a small soccer goal. More toys were visible in the side yard.

Parked in the driveway were a pickup and an older-model Volkswagen.

According to tax records, the three-bedroom home was built in 1920 and was the home, at one time, of Thomas Bynum, the first Hope Mills resident to serve in the state's General Assembly, said Eddie Dees, former mayor and town historian.

Cantrell was an assistant detachment commander of a Special Forces A Team, said Lt. Col. April Olsen, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg.

Cantrell had completed six combat deployments - five to Afghanistan and one to Iraq - since enlisting in the Army in 1994, Olsen said.

Cantrell returned from his last deployment in August, Olsen said.

His awards included a Purple Heart and five Bronze Stars, Olsen said.

"The soldiers and families of Special Forces Regiment are deeply saddened by this tragedy," Olsen said. "There are no words to express the sorrow felt in our close-knit community when one of our families suffers such a loss. We will continue to provide the family our support, our friendship and our prayers, and ask that the public respects their right to privately grieve."

Isabella was a kindergarten student at Ed Baldwin Elementary School, said Principal Todd Yardis.

Isabella, he said, was a happy girl who loved coming to school, loved her friends and her teacher.

Grief counselors were on campus to help students and staff cope with the 6-year-old's death, he said.

Crisis counselors also were called to Cotton Fire Department to help shaken firefighters, especially younger ones, deal with the deaths, Fire Chief Owen Harris said.

Louise Cantrell was treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center for smoke inhalation and released, Tanna said.

She and her husband were active at Baldwin Elementary, Yardis said, frequently volunteering to help with class projects.

"Dad going in to be a hero shows how much their kids meant to them," Yardis said.

"He loved the kids," Starling said.

If there is a saving grace, Yardis said, it's the resilient nature and innocence of Isabella's classmates.

"In some aspects, it's a blessing that they are kindergartners," Yardis said. "One of the kid's comment was, 'That means she can't come to my birthday party.' Another said, 'At least she went to heaven, not the other way.' "
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:10 PM   #3
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That brought a tear to my eyes.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:17 AM   #4
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:40 AM   #5
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:55 AM   #6
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:06 AM   #7
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:15 AM   #8
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So sad!
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