Early morning fire kills recent UNCW graduate

Rory Michaelson
Rory Michaelson

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio |email
Updated by Lauren Thomson - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT)- The Wilmington Fire Department is investigating an early morning fire that killed one person and injured four others.

The fire broke out early Saturday morning at Cypress Pointe Apartments, located at 5387 New Centre Drive.

According to a news release from the Wilmington Fire Department, the fire was reported at 3:04 a.m. and crews continued to battle flames until 6:20 a.m.

Battalion Chief David Hines says the fire destroyed at least four units.

Many people at the complex say they found out about the fire because others banged on their doors and helped get them out before it was too late.

One person, Rory Michaelson, died in the fire.

According to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Michaelson had just graduated with a degree in special education in December.

Michaelson had just gotten a job teaching pre-K through 5th grade students at J.T. Barber Elementary School in New Bern.

She was 23 years old.

This afternoon, UNCW Chancellor, Rosemary DePaolo issued a statement about Michaelson's death.

"I know that the entire UNCW community will join me in extending our deepest condolences to Rory's family and friends," says DePaolo.

UNCW says they have counselors available for students.

The university will send out information about Michaelson's memorial service when her family finalizes plans.

Emergency crews had to take four other people to the hospital. Three of them have been released. The fourth had to be transferred to Chapel Hill for further treatment.

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