Girl dies in Durham house fire

STAFF WRITERAugust 15, 2010 

A 12-year-old girl died in a house fire early this morning as family members tried in vain to beat back smoke to reach her, according to fire officials and the family.

Destiny Ledwell would have been starting the seventh grade this fall at Shepard Middle School in Durham.

Her brother Christopher Ledwell, 16, said she was trapped in her bedroom in the one-story brick home at 2407 Nebo St.

Christopher said he woke up when a rush of heat hit his face just after 7 a.m. today. He thinks the fire started in his room but is unsure how.

He said he raced to his sister's room but could not get the door open. He then ran to the kitchen to fill a water jug to try and battle the blaze, but the water pressure was too low to rapidly fill the vessel. By the time Christopher tried to return to Destiny's room, he said the flames were too fierce and the smoke too thick to navigate.

Christopher said he yelled for four others in the home to wake up and rushed outside.

"I tried to get help," he said.

Once outside, family members tried to open the window to Destiny's bedroom, but were unsuccessful, Christopher said.

It took firefighters 20 minutes to extinguish the fire. Durham Deputy Fire Chief Dan Curia said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

On Sunday evening, Christopher and other family members picked through their belongings, trying to salvage furniture scattered about the yard.

"We'll pick up the pieces and just try to go on," he said. or 919-829-4821

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