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Gasoline vapors, hot grass trimmer combine to start house fire

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
A fire at a home on Legion Club Road Friday afternoon started when vapors from a gas can escaped near a still-hot grass trimmer, officials said.
“It started with a Weedeater and an open gas can. The vapors from the gas can was next to the Weedeater that had just been turned off,” said Granite Quarry Fire Chief David Morris.
He said the vapors ignited and the fire spread from the garage and deck area to the home’s first floor.
The fire occurred around 4 p.m. at 835 Legion Club Road, home to Steven and Gloria Polk.
“Fortunately, everyone got out safely,” Morris said.
Neighbor Daisy Morrow said the Polks have lived at the home for years. She believed Steven was home, but his wife was at work.
Neighbor Gloria Rich said she heard an explosion.
“I heard a big pow,” Rich said.
Morris said there were reports of explosions, but he believes neighbors heard the pressure from the gas and propane cans being released.
Temperatures climbed into the 90s and played a large role in how firefighters tackled the blaze.
“We went into a full second alarm. We had to rotate firefighters in and out about every seven to 10 minutes,” Morris said.
Normal rotation is between 20 and 25 minutes, he said.
Rowan Rescue started 10 to 12 intravenous drips on firefighters to replenish their fluids, Morris said.
It sounds serious he said, but there were no injuries.
The IVs were just a precaution.
“We wanted to take care of them. Some of them, this was their second fire of the day. we definitely want to take every precaution,” he said.
The interior of the home filled with smoke and firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to ventilate the home and allow the smoke to escape so they could see inside.
Matt Garrido drove by when he saw smoke rising into the air. Garrido lives behind the Polks through the woods at Ravenbrook Way.
Garrido said when he first arrived, only two police officers were at the scene.
He was on his way home from work when he saw who he believed to be the owner of the home standing on the roof trying to put out the fire.
“The officers were trying to get him off the roof,” Garrido said. “He wouldn’t move.”
Garrido said he does not know the couple but stopped when he saw the smoke and commotion. He stayed on the scene, temporarily trapped by fire trucks, and watched the action unfold.
Responding were the Granite Quarry, Salisbury, Faith, Rockwell City, Bostian Heights and South Salisbury fire departments, the Rowan Rescue Squad, Rowan County EMS, Granite Quarry-Faith Police Authority and Rockwell Police Department.
“We had a lot of help from a lot of good people. We were able to save the majority of the house,” Morris said.
Steven Polk was not available for comment.

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