Family loses everything in fire

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 13, 2011

By Shelley Smith
SALISBURY — Terry and Veronica Thomas lost everything to a fire Thursday morning at their 132 Forest Meadow Lane home, but they plan to rebuild.
The Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating the cause of the fire, but investigators believe it started around a door in the garage that leads to the kitchen, and the flames were the result of wires arcing.
No one was home during the fire and no firefighters were injured. The fire had spread so quickly by the time firefighters arrived that they had to take a defensive approach.
The Thomases have three children — a 20-year-old who is away at college, and two 16-year-olds at North Rowan High School — who all are devastated, Veronica Thomas said.
“They’re taking it hard,” she said. “They’re not doing good at all, but I tried to reassure them that everything is going to be OK.”
The Thomases have lived in the home since 1996 and have insurance. They will be staying at the Holiday Inn until their insurance company finds adequate housing for them, Veronica said.
They do not have relatives in Salisbury, but they are members of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. Nilous Avery is their pastor, and he and many other co-workers and friends called all day Thursday to check on the Thomases.
Neighbors gathered around the couple when they got to their home after leaving work, hugging and comforting them.
Neighbor Glenda Kirby, who lives across the street from the Thomases, said she felt horrible for them, and knew folks would come together and help them with whatever they needed.
“It’s just so much devastation to think of all the things you lose in your house,” she said. “It’s terrible. You feel so helpless.”
Locke, Woodleaf, Jerusalem, Ellis Cross Country and Franklin fire departments responded, along with Rowan Rescue.
The Thomases plan to visit Rowan Helping Ministries and the Salvation Army today to use clothing vouchers provided by the American Red Cross.
Veronica Thomas said she and her husband are trying to stay strong for her children.
“It is what it is,” she said. “It happens. We’re being strong and we’re holding on because we have to be strong for our kids.”