ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – Robeson County investigators continue to look into the cause of an early-morning house fire that claimed the life of a former North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper.
Officials found Michael Wayne Chavis, 58, inside the residence.
The victim was the only person inside the home at the time, according to officials. Stephanie Chavis, the Robeson County fire marshal, said Michael Chavis just celebrated his birthday in November.
Stephanie Chavis and Michael Chavis are not related. According to Chavis, firefighters were dispatched to the home on Philadelphus Road around 1 a.m., Tuesday. When units arrived, the home was fully involved, Chavis said. The victim's body was found in the house. According to Chavis, the exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.
A friend to Chavis visited the house the day of the fire and talked with WMBF News. Angelin Locklear said "I just couldn't believe it, I couldn't believe it. If you are used to seeing somebody and they have a smile on their face. He was so nice, he was just a sweetheart."
Locklear has known Chavis the past fifteen years and remembers the last time he was at her house just last month. "He was such a solemn person to speak with. I just enjoyed him, and known him for so many years." She added how much Chavis loved helping other people. "Young children, he loved the young children, teenagers, do not drink and drive.. he was mainly concerned about that."
The Prospect community is close-knit, Locklear explained how Chavis' smile and love for others is what will be missed most, and the role model he was.
"He has a son who is a state patrolman, and that was his lifelong dream to follow in his father's footsteps."
Major Anthony Thompson with the Robeson County Sheriff's Office says their arson and homicide division was called to the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.