Investigation continues in house fire death

By: By Kristy D. Carter -

Local authorities and agents from the State Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate the cause of a mid-morning blaze that claimed the life of one local woman.

Joyce Annette Batts, 66, of 115 Daybreak Lane, Newton Grove, was killed in the fire last Thursday, Dec. 21, according to authorities. No foul play is suspected and the probe into the fatal fire is ongoing, authorities said a week after the deadly fire.

Around 10:20 a.m. last Thursday, the Sampson County E-911 Center received a report of a house fire at 115 Daybreak Lane. Fire departments from Newton Grove, Vann’s Crossroads, Spivey’s Corner and Halls responded, along with Sampson County EMS and deputies from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office.

Responding units found a home about 50 percent engulfed in flames and firefighters subsequently discovered the body of Batts inside. Neighbors reported the blaze, and informed authorities of the possibility of a woman inside when they arrived. Batts lived with her daughter, Leslie Batts, who was not home at the time of the fire.

The home is located just off Lassiter Road and U.S. 701 outside the Newton Grove town limits.

Emergency personnel have been on the scene investigating the blaze and the charred remains of the property throughout the week. According to Josh Deaver, deputy fire marshal with Sampson County, all indications at this time lead investigators to believe the fire was accidental.

“We are having a hard time pin pointing where the fire originated,” Deaver said about the location of where the fire started. “The cause of the fire is still under investigation with the SBI assisting.”

Batts was born in Cumberland County and worked as a cook in the food service industry. In addition to her one daughter, she is survived by another daughter, Penny Olaque of Tarboro; a son, Phillip Kurton of South Dakota; brothers, Samuel Batts of Clinton, Donnie Batts of Clinton and Timmy Batts of Florida; a sister, Patricia Glunt of Turkey; three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

By Kristy D. Carter

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.