Owner of Lyerly Funeral Home vows to rebuild

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2012

SALISBURY, N.C. — Owner Brent Lyerly says he will rebuild after a four-alarm fire at Lyerly Funeral Home, 515 S. Main St.
Authorities have called a 2:30 p.m. press conference. Crews continue battling the blaze defensively, meaning they are not sending firefighters inside building and are simply trying to keep the blaze from spreading to other structures.
As many as 50 firefighters are now fighting the blaze with 50 more supporting them. Firefighters have been called in from other communities to back up Salisbury firefighters.
Heavy, dark smoke continues to billow from the structure and flames have been visible from all sides and the roof.
There has been no report of injuries. A staff member said everyone got out of the building safely.
Lyerly told a Post reporter he is “devastated.”
“My family is in a state of shock right now,” he said.
Lyerly said the fire started shortly after someone turned on the heating system. 
The fire started on the lower level in the rear of the main building, according to reports at the scene. Staff members saw smoke coming through vents and heard a smoke detector sounding an alarm. Staff member Vickie Abernethy called 911.
The bodies of two bodies sisters – Effie Leazer Stiller, 91, and Marie Elma Leazer Miller, 84, both of Salisbury – were in caskets awaiting funerals Saturday. The two sisters both died on Wednesday. 
Crews have staged in the parking lot of the former Salvation Army store across from the funeral home, which sits between Monroe and Marsh streets.
Firefighters from Salisbury, N.C., and Spencer are fighting the fire at multiple points around the building, as well as from above with ladders.
The first calls came in around 12:20 p.m. Off duty personnel have been called in.
Red Cross volunteers are now responding to the site supporting first responders as they battle the fire.
An online gallery of photos from the fire is available here.

WCNC and WBTV both sent helicopters for aerial coverage. WBTV posted a clip from the aerial view.

Check back for more information as it becomes available.
Get updates on Twitter or let us know what you’re seeing using the hashtag #LyerlyFire.

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