Two dead in Laurens County blaze

Two people died Monday in a predawn house fire in Laurens County, officials there said.

The blaze happened about 5 a.m. on Phillip Manning Road, northeast of Dudley, about six miles northwest of Dublin.

Authorities were still investigating the fire late Monday.

Albin Watson, who was driving nearby before daybreak, said he saw the flames and called 911 about 5:15 a.m.

“I could see it from about a mile away, and I knew something was going on,” Watson said. “It was already burning when I got to it.”

According to property records, the house, west of U.S. 441 off Evergreen Road, is owned by husband and wife Phillip and Patsy Manning.

As of Monday evening, however, investigators had not confirmed the 64-year-old Manning and his 63-year-old wife as the victims.

“We’re pretty sure it’s them,” the county’s deputy coroner Nathan Stanley said, adding that the victims’ remains would be sent to a state crime lab for identification on Tuesday.

The home had already begun falling in by the time firefighters arrived, said Donald Bryant, the county’s EMA director.

As for how it started, “At this point we do not have a cause,” Bryant said.

Investigators aim to learn more after autopsy results are in. Preliminary findings could be back later this week, he said.

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.