Fire destroys house in East Spencer
By Jessie Burchette
EAST SPENCER ó A newly adopted puppy and a Persian cat are credited with saving the life of a South Long Street resident.
Firefighters from seven departments battled a South Long Street blaze Sunday night that consumed one home and threatened two others.
Kevin Hammond, 48, had gone to bed and was sound asleep. At some point he heard his new puppy, Becky, a Rottweiler-lab mix, whimpering.
And then Rusha, his pet cat, started digging her claws into her chest.
Hammond said he opened his eyes to see flames.
He jumped up and ran to the next room to check on his girl friend Gwendolyn Payton, but Payton wasn’t home.
By that time Hammond said he couldn’t get back into the room to get the cat and dog. They perished in the fire.
He ran from the house partially clothed. A neighbor gave him a pair of shoes and a jacket.
East Spencer firefighters responded at 11 p.m. Sunday to the fire at 312 S. Long St.
The one-story frame house was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene.
Bobby Silva, safety chief with East Spencer, said the occupants ó believed to be all adults ó had gotten out of the house.
Flames were reaching toward homes on either side of the burning house, which Silva said were within spitting distance. Crews evacuated the neighboring houses.
Calling a second alarm, firefighters from Salisbury, Miller’s Ferry, Ellis, South Salisbury, Granite Quarry and Union responded.
Silva said they were able to keep the fire from spreading. “They did a good job, there was no damage to the other houses.”
Firefighters remained on the scene for several hours, ending the assignment around 3:30 a.m. Monday.
Silva said the fire appeared to have originated in a middle room, uncertain whether it was the livingroom or a bedroom.
Rowan County Fire Marshal Tom Murphy is conducting the investigation into the cause.
The Hanford Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to the scene to provide assistance to the victims, putting them in hotel for a couple of days.
Deborah Lineberger, director of Emergency Services for the local chapter, said if anyone has furniture or appliances they want to donate, they may contact her at the Red Cross at 704-633-3854, extension 106.
The Red Cross will take the information and give it to the couple.
Also Hammond said anyone who has clothing or other household goods to donate may call his grandfather, Robert Lee Hammond at 704-636-5010.
Kevin Hammond said late Monday that he’ll never forget what his pets did for him.
“I miss them,” Hammond said. “They got along good together, they ate together.”
Over he years, has seen and heard stories about people’s pets saving them. “I never thought it would happen to me.”