Man cleared in burning of home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts

Salisbury Post

A China Grove man charged with assaulting emergency workers as they tried to put out a fire at his house was found guilty of assault but cleared of accusations of intentionally burning the Pamela Street home.

District Court Judge Bill Kluttz sentenced David Paul Strenio, 44, to 150 days in the N.C. Department of Correction but suspended the sentence and placed Strenio on 18 months supervisory probation for two assault charges.

Fire officials told the Post in June that Strenio was on the porch yelling at firefighters and trying to keep them from going into the house. According to the arrest warrant, Strenio grabbed Darrell Nicholas, a Bostian Heights firefighter, by the collar while he was fighting the fire. Strenio also was charged with assault on an officer for shoving a deputy against his squad car during his arrest.

Firefighters went around to the back, but the delay allowed the fire to spread. The two-story house was destroyed.

Strenio’s father, Paul, denied his son had anything to do with the fire. The elder Strenio said his son was with him and David Strenio’s mother at their home next door.

Strenio’s attorney, Darrin Jordan, said Wednesday in court that alcohol was probably involved and his client was “a little belligerent that day.”

Since that time, Strenio has been clean and sober, Jordan said.

Kluttz ordered Strenio to complete an inpatient treatment program and gave him credit for 62 days he completed following the incident.

Kluttz also ordered Strenio to serve 50 hours of community service and avoid contact with his wife, from whom he is separated. Kluttz dismissed charges of communicating threats and fraudulently burning a dwelling.

Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or