Authorities investigating Cleveland fire
CLEVELAND — The Thursday afternoon fire at a mobile home at 145 Rocky Point is now under investigation by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Marshal’s Office.
The fire began around 2 p.m. and was called in by a neighbor who reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the home.
Rowan County Fire Investigator Deborah Horne said most of the fire was coming out of the eaves of the home, along with the heavy smoke. An exact location of where the fire began has not been established.
Horne said nothing was taken from the home for evidence, but the agencies are still investigating.
Lost in the fire were two parakeets and a fish tank filled with fish.
Curtis Hayes, owner of the home, is being treated at Rowan Regional Medical Center for a sudden illness and was not home at the time of the fire. Neighbors say Hayes’ wife, Cheryl, left the home minutes before they saw the smoke.
Horne spoke with Cheryl Hayes, who told her she did not smell or see anything unusual before she left for the hospital to see her husband.
“People say she had just left when smoke started rolling out,” Hayes’ mother Patsy said.
Next-door neighbor Roger Gallo called 911 to report the smoke.
“I saw a lot of smoke, came over and popped the door open, and smoke started rolling,” Gallo said.
Cleveland, Scotch Irish, Locke, Wayside and Rowan-Iredell fire departments responded, as well as the Rowan Rescue Squad.
Cleveland Assistant Fire Chief Greg Summitt, who was having trouble communicating with the firefighters inside the house, decided to step onto what he thought was a concrete block beside the home to yell at the firefighters on the porch.
The concrete turned out to be a large and deep fish pond that Summitt fell into through a sheet of ice covering the pond. The water soaked him from head to toe and the ice cut his hands and face. His communications radio also fell into the pond, which firefighters eventually retrieved after cutting holes in the side of the pond to drain water.