Family loses home, possessions in fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Jane and John Bulla are distraught but happy to be alive following an early morning fire that destroyed their home and belongings.
The couple and other family members managed to get out of their burning house at 1179 Grist Mill Run just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, Susan Johnson, a relative, said later in the day.
Johnson, who lives in China Grove, helped the family sift through their belongings Tuesday morning.
Also living in the Bulla home were the couple’s daughter, Janie, and wheelchair-bound grandmother, 93-year-old Alice Bulla.
The Bullas did not want to speak to a reporter Tuesday, but Johnson said everyone was at home at the time of the fire.
“The smoke alarm went off,” she said.
One of the family members saw fire at the garage door and opened it. Flames had crawled up to the ceiling.
“By the time it took to get grandma out and the rest of the family out the house, they didn’t have time to grab anything,” Johnson said.
The family didn’t even have time to put on shoes, Johnson said.
No one was hurt. The family’s two dogs, a Chow and Rottweiler, were in the back yard and were not harmed.
The family has lived in the home, which is located in the Olde Mill subdivision off St. Paul’s Church Road, for three years. The house is about five years old.
The fire was so intense it melted some of the the siding on the neighbor’s house.
The family lost everything, including the two vehicles parked in the garage.
Johnson said one closet was untouched by the fire, but little is salvageable. The Bullas were able to get out a few blankets.
An official cause of the fire was not available Tuesday, but Johnson said, “They speculate that it was an electrical fire in an unfinished bonus room.”
Johnson pointed to the place where the bonus room was located above the garage.
She said the family is grateful for the firefighters who came out to battle the blaze.
“We are very grateful to the fire departments, especially Locke and Bostian Heights,” Johnson said.
She said many of the firefighters brought items out of the house they thought could be saved.
“Everyone came and did the best they could. We express complete gratitude,” she said.
Johnson said the Bullas have other relatives in the area who will take care of them.
The family has already been offered donations, she said.
Even Johnson’s co-workers at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast gave her money for the family.
Several agencies responded to the fire, including the South Salisbury, Locke, Faith, Granite Quarry, Bostian Heights, Rockwell Rural, Union and China Grove fire departments and the Rowan Rescue Squad.
Attempts to reach fire personnel for more details were unsuccessful.