Lyerly hasn't settled on temporary funeral home location

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Brent Lyerly said Wednesday the fire that destroyed the funeral home his family has operated for decades won’t keep the business from serving the community.
Lyerly, president of Lyerly Funeral Home, said last week he will rebuild. On Wednesday, Lyerly said he is trying to find a temporary site but has not chosen a location.
“I’m looking at those options,” Lyerly told the Post Wednesday after a press conference at Salisbury Fire Station No. 1. “We need somewhere that’s practical and feasible.”
The four-alarm fire burned through the South Main Street funeral home Friday after the furnace system malfunctioned around lunchtime.
The bodies of two sisters and the ashes of a Korean War veteran were inside the funeral home awaiting services when it burned.
The sisters’ caskets were recovered over the weekend, and services were held for Effie Leazer Stiller and Marie Leazer Miller on Saturday.
Fire crews found the navy-colored urn Tuesday afternoon, Lyerly said.
“Yesterday about 3 to 4 o’clock, Rescue 1 team recovered the remains of Mr. Charlie Benson that we’ve been searching for, basically since the fire erupted on Friday,” Lyerly said. “And also crews worked diligently and tirelessly Saturday, Sunday and Monday until they detected it and were able to recover it.”
Lyerly said having the urn lost in the burned rubble had taken an emotional toll on him and that he was glad to bring closure to the families.
When fire crews weren’t looking for the urn, Lyerly said, he was. “I went down in the hole,” he said. “This has been killing me. I feel like I let the families down.”
Lyerly said he has been working with the Benson family to arrange services. Benson will receive military honors.
Until a temporary location is established, Lyerly said he will continue to operate out of his second building, Cremation Concepts, beside Lyerly Funeral Home on South Main Street.
Lyerly said files on the funeral home’s computer system had been backed up through Friday.
Lyerly Funeral Home has been in business since 1957. The building destroyed Friday was constructed in 1964, with additions built over the years.