Green Beret Dies Trying to Save Kids in Fire

Dad, 2 daughters die in house blaze near Fort Bragg
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2012 11:29 PM CST
Updated Mar 7, 2012 2:00 AM CST
"They perished before our arrival," a veteran firefighter told reporters. "It was horrible."   (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Marcus Castro)
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(Newser) – A decorated Green Beret soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan died a hero's death at home in North Carolina. After Edward Cantrell and his wife jumped from the second floor of their burning home, he wrapped himself in a blanket and ran back inside in an attempt to save their two daughters, AP reports. "He never made it back out," said a sheriff's department spokeswoman. The body of the 36-year-old soldier was found near those of his daughters Isabella, 6, and Natalia, 4.

Cantrell, awarded four Bronze Stars and one Purple Heart, had one combat deployment to Iraq and five to Afghanistan. He was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg. "There are no words to express the sorrow felt in our close-knit community when a family suffers such a tragedy," the command said in a statement. The principal of Isabella's school said Cantrell had recently spoken about retiring from the military to open his own business and spend more time with his family. (Read more Special Forces stories.)

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