Fire damages Cleveland home
By Shelley Smith
CLEVELAND — A Thursday afternoon fire at a mobile home at 145 Rocky Point is under investigation.
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.
“People say she had just left when smoke started rolling out,” Hayes’ mother Patsy said.
Cheryl Hayes was at the hospital when firefighters responded and was not available for comment.
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. He also lost his radio.
Firefighters attempted to empty most of the fish pond to retrieve the radio, but the water would not drain. They decided to use a chain saw to cut the wood beams supporting the pond, allowing more water to flow into the yard.
The Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.