Flames destroy animal hospital

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 20, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — Nine dogs died in a fire early Sunday morning at Rowan Animal Clinic that also claimed the Statesville Boulevard building.
“The fire started in the attic,” said Deborah Horne, a fire investigator with the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office.
The fire began at 1:36 a.m. at 4155 Statesville Blvd., where Dr. R.B. Lowe has practiced for more than 30 years, Horne said.
The animals were boarded there and others had just undergone procedures, she said.
It took nearly a dozen fire agencies several hours to get the fire under control.
“All the departments were here quickly and attacked the fire as soon as they arrived,” Horne said.
Firefighters worked to get to the animals inside, but were blocked by the doors and debris.
Horne said firefighters had to bring in equipment to get better access to the fire.
Officials used an excavator, Horne said, because of the metal, flat roof.
“The fire was massive when they (firefighters) arrived,” she said.
Although fire agencies were enroute, passersby also called 911 about the flames that could be seen in the building.
Fire officials returned to the scene later Sunday to extinguish hot spots.
Firefighters tore through a wall in the X-ray room.
The dogs died of smoke inhalation, Horne said.
The veterinarians left the clinic around 7 p.m. Saturday and no one was in the building, she said.
The building is a complete loss, Horne said.
“Prayers and thoughts go out to the families who lost their dogs in the fire and to Dr. Lowe and the staff at Rowan Animal Clinic,” Horne said.
The following fire departments responded: Franklin, Locke, Woodleaf, Cleveland, Salisbury, Bostian Heights, Granite Quarry, Jerusalem, Union and Ellis Cross Country.
The fire remains under investigation. No cause has been released as of yet.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.