Early-morning flames destroy Salisbury home

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 25, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — By visiting with family for Christmas, a western Rowan County man stayed safe from the fire that destroyed his home Sunday morning.
Jody Sedberry had been living at 410 Primrose Drive outside Salisbury for about a year. The house is owned by his stepfather, Larry Cesario, who he came to stay with Saturday night.
“He normally never stays with us — except on Christmas Eve,” Cesario said. “We’re very fortunate he was not home when the fire broke out.”
Sedberry’s neighbor got up to use the restroom between 4 and 5 a.m. Sunday, Cesario said, and spotted the fire out the window.
He said neighbors broke down the door, thinking Sedberry was inside, but the smoke and flames were too thick for them to enter.
Cesario then got a call from a friend asking if Sedberry was there. After confirming that his stepson was safe, he was told the home was “an inferno.”
By the time the fire was out, most of the home’s roof and back wall were gone, opening a view to the devastation inside.
Deborah Horne with the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office said the blaze started in the bedroom and appears to be accidental, but investigators are still trying to determine the cause.
“We did find a space heater in the room,” Horne said. “Until the tests come back, we’re not able to confirm that that’s what it is.”
She said it was originally called in as a grass fire, because the person who reported it thought the flames were in the backyard.
Cesario and his wife, Donna, now live in Country Club Hills in Salisbury, but he said it’s still sad to see the house burn down.
“I’ve owned that house for 35 years,” he said. “It was my own homestead. I raised two boys there.”
The house still had his furniture, Cesario said, and many of his stepson’s clothing items and treasured family photos.
The American Red Cross was called in to offer assistance to Sedberry.
“We’re very fortunate he wasn’t injured or killed in that fire,” Cesario said. “If it hadn’t been Christmas Eve, he would have been there.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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