UPDATE: 'Person of interest' in deadly Carolina Beach fires expected in court Thursday

UPDATE: 'Person of interest' in deadly Carolina Beach fires expected in court Thursday
Marshall Doran made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. (Source: WECT)
Marshall Doran made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. (Source: WECT)
Marshall Doran (Source: New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office)
Marshall Doran (Source: New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office)

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - Marshall Doran, 22, considered a person of interest in Saturday's deadly fires in Carolina Beach, is expected to make his second appearance in a New Hanover County court at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Doran first appeared in court Monday afternoon. No charges were filed during that appearance. He remains in the New Hanover County Jail under a $2.5 million bond.

Officials announced at a press conference Sunday morning that Doran was charged with attempted first-degree burglary in connection to an incident that took place at 611 Carolina Beach Avenue.

Neighbors tell us the house where Doran's alleged burglary took place is a rental property. At the time of his alleged burglary no tenants occupied the the home on South Carolina Beach Avenue.

Officials said that Saturday's fires claimed the lives of two people. They said that this has now become a murder investigation. Autopsies will be performed Monday to identify the victims.

Carolina Beach Fires

Early Saturday morning, three fires started within hours of each other. The first fire burned a condo containing 12 family dwellings to the ground.

Several family units were significantly damaged in a second condo fire. The third fire was a vehicle fire, no structures were burned as a result of that blaze.

In addition to the fatalities, officials said they transported several people with minor injuries to the hospital. One firefighter also received minor injuries.

"Units here in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach responded to help immediately contain these blazes," said David, on Saturday following the fires. "Wilmington Fire and New Hanover Fire quickly responded as well. We've even had to have Pender and Brunswick County Fire come in to assist."

He said the first condo fire was called in at 2:28 a.m. to 409 South Carolina Beach Avenue. Then at 3:45 a.m. the second condo fire was reported in the 800 block of South Carolina Beach Avenue. The third fire, the vehicle fire, was called in at 4:34 a.m. on South Lake Park Blvd.

David said multiple agencies have been working together.

“In terms of the law enforcement response, ATF on the federal level, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation and the New Hanover County Sheriff's office have been working with the police agencies here on this island," David said.

Doran's Previous History

Doran was charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle after his involvement in a

crash back in February. That incident happened on I-40.

Doran's charges in that incident were reduced down from the original charges of second degree murder. He also faces charges of resisting arrest and felony possession of a controlled substance.

David said Doran is currently awaiting trial in Wake County on charges related to the hit-and-run accident.

Fires impact condo neighbors

Days after the fires initially sparked, a portion of Carolina Beach Avenue South was still blocked off in front of the destroyed Sands 4 condominium. Response crews opened the road Monday afternoon.

Multiple residents near Sands 4 said they had lost cable due to the fire.

Louise Smith lives in a condo right across the street from the now-demolished Sands 4 complex. She said she hadn't been able to back her truck out of her driveway because of the emergency response crews working in the street.

"I'll never forget. It's not something you can forget," said Smith about the fires.

Some buildings also had outer damage because of the flames. The neighboring residents hope the worst of the experience is now behind them.

"Everybody's keeping their fingers crossed that no other person will be uncovered. Unfortunately there were a couple and it was a sad day. It's very unfortunate and very sad,” said Fran Casteen,

Victim Assistance

Red Cross has been on the scene helping families. If you need assistance you can also contact the Red Cross at 910-509-8038.

Donations are currently being accepted to a relief fund for displaced victims set up by the Pleasure Island Revitalization Association. Checks can be made to: Pleasure Island Fire Relief Fund. Mail to: PO Box 1876 Carolina Beach, NC 28428 or drop off at the front reception desk at Town Hall.

Carolina Beach Mayor, Dan Wilcox, said they are in the process of assessing the needs of residents in terms of clothing, lodging and counseling. He said they will be announcing what resources they have available in the near future.

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