Fire claims MLK Avenue home

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — A kitchen fire got out of control and caused significant damage Thursday to a home on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.
No injuries were reported and two people inside the house made it out safely.
D.H. Morris, Salisbury Fire Department’s chief of training, said the fire started in the home’s back corner, “which appears to be the kitchen,” before spreading into the attic.
Morris said crews were stationed outside the home while others worked on ventilation and putting out the fire. Salisbury Fire received the call at 3:04 p.m.
Morris said 27 firefighters, 23 of whom came from Salisbury Fire, responded.
Morris said the American Red Cross was contacted to help the family with housing.
Tammy Roberts said she was coming back from buying her children shoes for the holidays and was on Interstate 85 when she saw the smoke.
“That can’t be my house,” she said.
Roberts had just gotten a call from one of her sons that the house had caught on fire.
“My son, Devonte, called me hysterical,” she said.
Devonte Roberts, 14, had been using the home’s stove to cook, she said.
When the teenager saw the flames, she said, he panicked and told his brother to get out of the house.
“He’s old enough,” Roberts said. “He’s responsible to cook. He thought the house was going to catch fire.”
Roberts, who has been living at the house since June, said she was glad her children and three dogs survived.
Roberts watched the fire with neighbors and her kids Thursday afternoon as smoke poured from the roof.
The back of the house had significant damage. Parts of the roof had caved in and the home’s siding was melted near the rear of the house.
“You’re used to seeing it happen to other people,” she said. “You just never think it would happen to you.”
Hannah Thompson said she was about to order at McDonalds when she saw the flames.
“We came around to get fries and the house was on fire,” she said.
Thompson, who was formerly married to a firefighter, said she knew it was serious when she got out of the car.
“They were standing near the front porch,” Thompson said, referring to the Roberts’ two sons.
She said she called 911 and handed her phone to one of the teenagers so they could give the address.
“I just hate to see this happen right before Christmas,” she said.