A residential fire in Granite Falls on the afternoon of Monday, May 14, claimed the life of an agent for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Investigations into the incident are continuing by the SBI, Granite Falls Police, and the Caldwell County Fire Marshall’s Office.
According to a release from investigators, the only victim of the afternoon fire was 47-year-old Christopher R. Haas, a Granite Falls resident and special agent for the SBI. The release says that Cynthia Haas, the special agent’s wife, arrived home around 4:45 p.m. and saw smoke coming from her home. She called 911. Around 4:51 p.m., the Granite Falls Fire Department arrived on the scene.
Firefighters found Haas in the house. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Granite Falls Police Department, SBI Special Agent Haas had been assigned to the Hickory District. There is no report on what he may have been investigating. An autopsy to determine the cause of death will be held later this week at Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem.
Caldwell County officials said in a press release that neither the Caldwell County Emergency Management Coordinator nor the Fire Marshal’s office will be making any statements about the incident. Coordinator Robbie Wilkie said that all questions should be directed to Lt. Chris Jenkins of the Granite Falls Police Department, as the incident is now a law enforcement matter.
Lt. Jenkins added few details. He told reporters that the fire had been contained to one area of the house, but was unsure whether the fire affected one room or two. Damage from the fire is estimated at $8,000. He said that any time there has been a fire, there is a potential crime scene.
Haas is survived by his wife Cynthia and two children.
The staff and attorneys at Speaks Law Firm send our condolences to the Haas family on this sad occasion.