Former volunteer firefighter dies in house fire; 2 dogs found by his side

Fire officials in Stanly County say a volunteer firefighter was found burned to death in a house fire early Friday morning in Stanly County.

According to Aquadale Fire Chief Terry Smith, the body of 61-year-old Donnie Smith was found in the remains of his home along Old Aquadale Road in Albemarle.

Firefighters were called to the home at 12:04 a.m. Friday morning to the report of a fire.

The first fire crews arrived about 5 minutes later to find the structure fully involved with heavy flames showing.

Chief Smith says Donnie Smith was living in the home alone.  His wife died in 2000.

WBTV has learned that three dogs also died in the fire; a cocker spaniel and 2 Jack Russells. Two of the dogs were found lying next to Smith's body.

Smith was a former volunteer firefighter for the Aquadale Fire Department until his health went downhill, Chief Smith told WBTV.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire. They say Smith was an occasional smoker, several heaters were found inside, and the house was old so electrical fire can't be ruled out.

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