1 dead after explosion at Stokes County home; possible evidence of homemade fireworks found, investigators say

Piedmont Triad News

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — New information has emerged on what was inside a home that burst into flames, killing a man, in Stokes County.

The fire started just before 7 p.m. Tuesday night at a home on Northfield Drive, near King.

Stokes County officials have not publicly released the man’s name yet.

People in the neighborhood believe the victim made bombs and fireworks at his home and sold them.

“Next thing you know, kaboom! It’s not like you hear little firecrackers going off, it’s bombs, “said Angela Varner, whose son lives nearby.

FOX8 obtained the dispatch audio that revealed multiple callers say they heard a loud explosion.

Despite first responders’ quick arrival on the scene, the man who lived there was already dead when they arrived.

It’s something neighbors feared would happen.

“Basically, he’s making bombs in his house,” Varner said.

Varner said her son and daughter-in-law who live across the street called her often to express concern over their neighbor’s previous activity.

“This neighborhood knows what’s going on. They knew that this man was making fireworks in his home,” she said.

Varner arrived shortly after the explosion. She said the large fire crew presence made her nervous at first, thinking that it may have been her son’s home.

“Coming around the curb, I was thinking, oh my gosh, I hope Andrew’s (Varner’s son) house isn’t on fire,” she recalled.

George, or “Cowboy” as his neighbors call him, told FOX8 he bought some fireworks from the victim for the Fourth of July celebrations.

“He was making homemade fireworks,” he said.

George said he had a brief conversation with the man who died right before it all happened.

“I told him that if he walked in that house, he’d never walk back out,” George said. “I had a feeling that something was going to happen, and it did.”

He said he found out about the fireworks when he was riding his electric wheelchair down the street and heard a loud bang coming from the victim’s home. That’s when George decided to stock up for Fourth of July.

“I want to say he got about $40 off of me,” George said.

Fire officials confirm chemicals used to make fireworks were found and removed from the home.

The ATF, State Fire Marshal and Winston-Salem Police Hazardous Unit are all aiding in the investigation.

County officials told FOX8 they are waiting to release the victim’s name pending next of kin notifications.

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