ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – A woman died after being trapped in a house that caught fire in Lumberton Thursday morning.
According to Major Anthony Thompson with the Robeson County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to the 100 block of Willoughby Road near Highway 72 at 1:23 a.m, to find flames coming out of the window at the front of a house.
Inside, deputies found Deffie Bridgeman dead. James Bridgeman was also inside the house. He and a deputy were treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation. Family friends said James Bridgeman was transported to Duke hospital for more treatment, but should be okay.
Those who knew Deffie Bridgeman best talked about the loss of their friend.
WMBF News talked with both Sarah Pitman and Katie Britt who said they are dear friends of Deffie's. "She was my best friend and to learn that she had passed is hard - real, real hard - and to know that her husband got hurt trying to get her out is real devastating," said friend Sarah Pitman through tears. "Everyone around and everyone who knew her will be devastated."
Fellow friend Katie Kitt shared memories of going over to the house and talking with Deffie.
"I'm going to miss her; I just don't know what I'm going to do," Kitt said. "I was coming over yesterday, but she was asleep, so I asked James, 'How ya'll doing?' and he said, 'OK.'"
Both women were in shock over the fact that their friend is really gone.
"It's kind of hard to understand why it had to happen this way, why couldn't it be an easier way, but to die burning up, I just think it would be awful for someone and she didn't deserve that," Pitman said.
The family friends said they will have to come together when James Bridgeman returns back home.
"If the house can be fixed, he probably will, but you know I don't know if he could handle it," Pitman said. "He loved her; she was his world. I don't know if he can take it living here. She was a very loving person, a beautiful person inside and out."
The Robeson County Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause of the fire and Deffie Bridgeman's death.