After tragic death in fire, safety effort is reaching out to Sandy Point community

Ed. — Originally published in the Sunday, Feb. 28, print edition.


KNOTTS ISLAND, N.C. — A young woman died in a fire in the Sandy Point Resort area on Thursday, Feb. 11.

Rescue personnel arrived at the scene of the fire on the 100 block of Porchard Lane at 8:12 a.m, and they found a heavy fire at a mobile home. 

Virginia Beach rescue officials also responded, and the fire was extinguished quickly, according to a statement released by Currituck County rescue officials.

Jenna White, 24, died in the fire, according to Randall Edwards, a spokesperson for Currituck County. 

The fire was investigated by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. It was found to be an accidental electrical fire, according to Deputy Chief Tim Riley of the Currituck County Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services.

White was alone in the home at the time of the fire, and she was overcome by smoke and heat, Riley said. 

There was no smoke detector.

Members of the community have rallied to provide support to the family, collecting clothes and other items. A GoFundMe page titled “Jenna White – Funeral Expenses” is still accepting contributions for the family online via

White’s aunt, Rhonda Hilderbrand, wrote via email that her family is grateful for the outpouring of support, which helped because there was no insurance. 

She said people can also help with “prayers for comfort as we are still grieving the loss of our sweet Jenna.”

The Currituck County Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services is scheduled to conduct a door-to-door fire safety campaign in Sandy Point on Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7. Fire safety personnel will identify fire and home safety issues and replace or install smoke detectors with the homeowner’s permission. 

Residents of other areas of the island who need assistance with smoke detectors can call (252) 429-3536. 

There is no cost for smoke detectors, which are provided through grants via the Virginia Beach Fire Department and the North Carolina State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“The importance of smoke detectors is they detect fires while fires remain small and allow residents to safely escape,” Riley said on Thursday, Feb. 25.

© 2021 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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