Space heater blamed for fire that destroyed Granite Quarry house

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 3, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
GRANITE QUARRY — An electric space heater is to blame for a fire that destroyed a Granite Quarry home Saturday morning.
Granite Quarry Fire Chief David Morris said the outlet the space heater was plugged into overheated and ignited the blaze at 733 N. Salisbury Ave. The fire extended from the sofa in the living room, up the wall and into the attic.
“It appears that the outlet possibly did not have the load capacity for the heater,” he said.
Morris said the fire department will continue its investigation to determine whether the wall outlet or the heater itself caused the fire.
No one was injured in the fire, but the family cat died of smoke inhalation.
Morris said the wooden residence was occupied by three adults. Their names were not available Saturday. Rowan County tax records indicate Donald and Mary Settle of Florida own the house, which is valued at more than $94,000.
Morris said it took firefighters about half an hour to get the fire under control.
“When crews arrived, the heaviest flames were at the front and side of the house,” he said.
Firefighters focused their efforts on the side of the house first, working to ensure it didn’t spread to another residence about 20 feet away.
“We focused on knocking the bulk of that down to protect the other structure,” Morris said.
After the blaze was under control, firefighters entered the house to extinguish any hot spots and save as much as possible.
“When we arrived, the volume of the fire was preventing us from going inside,” Morris said.
Morris said the home is a total loss.
“There is absolutely no way anyone can live there,” he said. “We have notified the Red Cross to provide support for the fire victims.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Morris said the Granite Quarry Fire Department will be investigating.
The Granite Quarry Fire Department received assistance from Salisbury, Faith, Rockwell City and Union fire departments. The Salisbury and Granite Quarry police departments as well as Rowan Rescue also responded to the scene.
“The effort of these guys was just tremendous,” Morris said. “They did an excellent job of preventing the fire from spreading to a second structure.”
The Kannapolis Fire Department responded to a fire that’s cause was electrical in nature Friday evening.
Crews were able to confine damage to the rear of the home at 1410 West A St.
No one was injured in the incident.
Morris said people should be sure to use good judgment when operating heaters and putting up Christmas decorations.
“I would encourage them to use surge protectors instead of drop cords because they do have the ability to provide a level of protection in case there is some failure,” he said. “Also, do not overload outlets with lights and heaters. Those types of devices can pull quite a bit of load from a receptacle and sometimes overheat.”
Morris said people should also be sure to water their Christmas trees and monitor cooking closely to prevent kitchen fires that could spread.
And heaters should have a three-foot clearance on all sides.
“All of those are good reminders for people during the holiday season,” Morris said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.