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John and Jessica Morgan, who were identified Wednesday, died in the blaze that destroyed a mobile home.
MELISSA POWELL | The Roanoke Times
A fire destroyed a mobile home in Pulaski County on Monday. The home's owner thinks the blaze was caused by a heater.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Jessica Morgan called her childhood friend Danielle Carter on Sunday, looking for a place where she and her husband could spend the night. Carter invited the couple to stay with her and her boyfriend near Dublin.
Hours later, Jessica and her husband, John, died when Carter’s mobile home caught fire in the middle of the night and was destroyed.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office released the names of the victims on Wednesday.
John Harvey Morgan III, 41, and Jessica Ann Morgan, 31, died early Monday in a fire that began just before 3:30 a.m.
The Morgans had been married for less than two years and had been out of work, but things were looking up before Monday’s tragedy. John Morgan had just gotten a job at the foundry in Radford.
“He was supposed to start next week,” Carter said. “They were really excited.”
Carter and her boyfriend, Donald Mitchell, escaped the conflagration with her two young children, 1-year-old Shaylin and 4-year-old Kaytlin.
Shaylin was treated for first and second-degree burns on her hands and feet, but her mother said, “She’s OK.”
Police and fire officials are still investigating the fire’s cause, but Carter believes an electric heater in Shaylin’s room was responsible.
In fact, Shaylin’s cries alerted Carter and Mitchell to the fire.
“I thought she just needed m ommy’s comfort,” Carter said. “I went to the room where my daughter was and I saw terror in her eyes. Just a fear I had never seen. Then I saw fire was coming up from the heater and climbing the walls. I grabbed her and ran.”
Mitchell told The Roanoke Times on Tuesday that he tried to awaken the Morgans by beating on a door as he helped carry the children out of the home. Smoke prevented him from going back inside.
On Wednesday, Carter and members of Jessica Morgan’s family remembered her as a happy-go-lucky woman who loved the outdoors, especially the New River where it flowed past Radford and the Pulaski County communities of Parrott and Belspring.
“She was a river rat,” said her younger sister, Mindy Saul of Radford. “She loved camping by the river, even in winter.”
Jessica Morgan had worked cutting hair until being injured in a car wreck a few years ago, her sister said. She still cut hair for her former customers at her grandmother’s house in Fairlawn, where she and her husband had been living.
John Morgan had grown up in Salem and had two daughters, Carter said. Efforts to reach his family were unsuccessful Wednesday.
“Jessie loved him dearly,” Carter said,
Carter was not sure why the Morgans needed a place to stay Sunday, but she said that the couple “was always welcome. My house was home to a lot of people.”
She said that after her boyfriend picked up the Morgans and brought them to her home, the four adults ate dinner, talked and “hung out” before going to bed.
Carter said she grew up with Jessica Morgan, who was raised in a farmhouse just off Virginia 114 in Montgomery County and graduated from Christiansburg High School.
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