3 dead after major fire in Kill Devil Hills; victims


KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) — Three people were killed, including a 13-year-old, and three others were injured in a fire Friday morning in Kill Devil Hills.

Town officials say it broke out around 2:25 Friday morning at a vacation home in the 1800 block of North Virginia Dare Trail near the Jolly Roger restaurant.

Video sent into WAVY by Christopher Forshey shows the one-level home fully engulfed as firefighters worked to control it.

Crews battle a major fire Friday morning in Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks. (Courtesy of Christopher Forshey)

Firefighters were able to contain the fire mostly to that home and get it extinguished, but say three people died and three others required medical treatment. Two were airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General.

The deceased were identified on Monday as 64-year-old Colleen Cohan and her husband William Deeg, 68, of Ashton, Maryland, as well as 13-year-old Sienna Farr of Silver Spring, Maryland.

The three people injured were 48-year-old Laura Volk, 16-year-old Sadie Farr and 55-year-old David Brewer, all of Silver Spring. Volk is Sienna and Sadie’s mother, and the girlfriend of Brewer, officials say.

Volk and Brewer were airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. A spokesperson confirmed Monday morning they are stable in the Burn Unit ICU. Sadie Farr was treated at The Outer Banks Hospital and was released.

A family member’s social media post indicated that recovery for Volk and Brewer could take several months, and they will eventually be transferred to a hospital closer to their home in the suburbs of Washington.

“It’s terrible. It’s horrible to be on vacation. and to think that you didn’t live. It’s awful,” said Mardane McLemore of Suffolk, who owns a summer home a few doors away on what many call Beach Road.

Another neighbor who lives nearby went through a house fire of her own several years ago.

“It’s heartbreaking to me,” said Evelyn Rollason. “When I see something like that it makes me really grateful and I know how lucky I was. God was looking out for me that night, but I really do feel for these people. It’s a tragedy.”

Adjacent homes on both sides were also damaged. Robert Coleman owns the home immediately to the South, and it sustained so much fire and water damage that it had to be condemned.

Coleman has a theory about what happened. He believes a propane tank exploded.

“(The owner of) the Jolly Roger restaurant, her husband woke up and heard an extremely loud boom. And they live all the way up on Fifth Street, so it was a big boom,” Coleman said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. “We do still have our investigators out at the scene, they’re getting reports and evidence and video footage from witnesses,” said Rachel Tackett, spokesperson for the Town of Kill Devil Hills in a Monday afternoon interview with WAVY.

“It was determined that (the victims) were out of state from Maryland, and regardless of where they’re from, when you step foot into our town you become part of the Kill Devil Hills community,” Tackett said, “so when we have a loss like that it really affects us all as a whole.”

She said the last time the town had a fatal fire was 2020.

The home on Friday morning after the fire. (Courtesy of Town of Kill Devil Hills)
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