MAXTON — A fire that investigators believe was started intentionally destroyed a Maxton home and killed two puppies on Thursday.
A neighbor reported the fire about noon Thursday at the 1942 Midway Road home belonging to Raquel Michelle Hunt, according to sheriff’s Lt. Brian Duckworth.
No one was in the home when the fire occurred, however, two bulldog puppies died in the fire, Duckworth said. Hunt’s son, Garrett Chavis, 21, and his girlfriend were staying in the home and had left shortly before the fire.
“They hadn’t been gone maybe 15, 20 minutes,” Duckworth said.
The Maxton Southeastern Volunteer Fire Department and Evans Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department responded.
Duckworth said someone entered the home by force through the front door and started the fire in the middle of the home. He is asking anyone with information to call him at 910-737-5067, or county Fire Marshal Stephanie Chavis at 910-671-3150.
“We do have some good leads right now, and I’m working on those but I’m still requesting any tips that anybody can give,” he said.
Duckworth said the house had been damaged in a drive-by shooting at least once previously.
“They’d been having some problems with some people in the neighborhood,” he said.
The house, a one-story wooden structure built in the 1950s, wasn’t insured. Duckworth said the tax value of the home was $38,100.
Duckworth said those responsible could face charges of arson, breaking and entering and felony cruelty to animals.