Three treated for smoke inhalation after fire in Ellis Crossroads community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka

Salisbury Post

Three people were treated for smoke inhalation at Rowan Regional Medical Center after a kitchen fire early Tuesday evening at a home in the Ellis Crossroads community.

Jeff Whitley, chief of the Ellis Cross Country volunteer department, identified the couple who lived at the small brick home in the Spencer Forest subdivision as Robert and Connie Woodbury of Hickory Place.

In the yard outside the house, firefighters gave oxygen to the couple and a woman whose identity was not available. Later, all three were transported to the hospital as a precaution.

Whitley said the woman, thought to be a neighbor, breathed in a lot of smoke in trying to help the couple before firefighters arrived.

The victims had labored breathing and tightness in their chests, according to the chief.

A dog belonging to the couple was thought to be lost in the fire at first, but Whitley said the dog was discovered in the house about 30 minutes later. It was OK.

Ellis and Franklin firefighters contained the fire pretty much to the back kitchen, but damage was considerable.

“The house is not livable but it is fixable,” Whitley said. “It was not a total loss.”

He estimated that his department put 2,000 gallons of water on the fire from its tanker.

“We had a pretty good stop on it,” Whitley added.

The initial call came in at 5:57 p.m., and Ellis Cross Country’s first truck made it to the house by 6:05 p.m.

“It was burning pretty good when we got there,” Whitley said, describing how the fire was coming out of two back windows.

Connie Woodbury told firefighters she had been cooking on the stove, and that’s where investigators think the fire started.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or