china grove fire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó A China Grove family lost almost everything when their rental house went up in flames on New Year’s Day.
Family members said the fire likely started when a 2-year-old boy was playing with a cigarette lighter.
Fortunately, Jay Overcash, his wife and the couple’s three children all escaped the afternoon blaze uninjured. The fire was reported about 3:45 p.m.
“We lost family pictures, we lost the computer, we lost it all,” Overcash said, watching as firefighters put the finishing touches to extinguishing the blaze.
He said he didn’t have insurance on the contents. Late Tuesday afternoon, Overcash was waiting for Red Cross officials to arrive to help them with temporary housing.
The burned house is a white frame structure located at 112 W. Vance St., less than a block off Main Street. The structure was heavily damaged by smoke, flames and water.
Holes were burned through the walls and roof. The vinyl siding was melted by the heat and flames.
Overcash said he and his family had lived in the house a little more than two years. He said they moved there from a mobile home.
“It’s been home,” Overcash said of the Vance Street house. “It’s been the best home for me and my children.”
He said the fire claimed even his wallet that contained $500 in cash. Overcash said he’d just gotten paid and was waiting for the New Year’s Day holiday to pass before paying his bills.
Evon Shimpock lives next door to the Overcashes and said she was on the phone when she saw smoke. She said that within moments she heard a fire alarm.
Shimpock said she hurried to her front porch and saw flames shooting from the attic of the house next door.
“He got the whole family out,” Shimpock said. “That’s something to be thankful for.”
Capt. Kevin Rodgers of the China Grove Fire Department said firefighters did a fine job responding to the blaze, but noted that old wooden structures don’t take a lot of time to burn.
In addition to China Grove, firefighters from Landis and Bostian Heights responded to the call.
“We had a pretty good knockdown,” Rodgers said of the time it took to get the fire under control.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or