Green Beret, daughters killed in fire to be laid to rest


Chief Warrant Officer Edward Cantrell with 6-year-old Isabella and 4-year-old Natalia. (Photo courtesy: WTVD)

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — A highly decorated U.S. soldier who died while unsuccessfully trying to rescue his daughters from their burning North Carolina home will be buried alongside the girls at the Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.

Chief Warrant Officer II Edward Duane Cantrell, 36, was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. The Green Beret had returned in August from his latest overseas deployment.

His wife, Louise, told officials the family was upstairs when the fire broke out just before 2 a.m. in Hope Mills, a suburb of Fayetteville, on March 5.

She jumped from a second-floor window and ran next door to call for help while her husband went to get their daughter, 6-year-old Isabella and 4-year-old Natalia, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

“They never made it out,” said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

Officials believe the family’s century-old home had tinderbox conditions that led to “a very intense fire.”

Military officials said the Fort Bragg soldier had completed six deployments, including one to Iraq and five to Afghanistan.

He had four Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service, according to the Army Special Operations Command.

On Monday, Cantrell will be honored with a military funeral at the cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

“That was his wishes,” said Lt. April Olsen of U.S. Army Special Forces Command.

His two daughters will lie beside him.

This story was written and provided by the CNN Wire.  TM & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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