• 68°

Owner surveys damage after Mitchell Avenue fire

By Emily Ford
eford@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Neng Tou Vue and his wife Mary Vue had planned to retire in the two-story brick home at 105 Mitchell Ave. that burned Wednesday night.
“My heart was broken,” said Vue, who first saw the damage early Thursday morning. “I told my wife, ‘This is my dream house.’ ”
Tenants Shunta and Laketha Cowan and their four children, ages four to 13, escaped the 11 p.m. blaze with nothing but their pajamas, a cell phone, three dogs and four puppies. The Rowan County chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family, and next-door neighbors are collecting donated items.
Four-year-old Tashun Cowan alerted his family to the smoke coming from an upstairs bedroom closet, Laketha Cowan said.
City Fire Marshal Terry Smith said investigators confirm the blaze probably started in the closet, but the cause has not been determined. The fire is not suspicious, Smith said.
Smith and Chris Branham, the city’s code services division manager, walked through the house Thursday afternoon and determined about 75 percent of the second floor was damaged by fire and smoke.
The foundation and walls remain intact, and flames did not reach the first floor, Smith said, where smoke and water damage occurred. The tax value of the house is listed as $94,000.
Vue said his insurance company will determine whether he rebuilds or demolishes the 3,600-square-foot house, which he bought in 2002 shortly after another fire damaged the kitchen.
“I think they are going to say tear down,” said Vue, who is Hmong and moved to the United States from Laos in 1980.
Vue said he and his wife, who live in Spencer, spent five years and $85,000 remodeling the home, which was built in 1909 and had been divided into apartments. According to Rowan County, the couple received a permit in 2002 to convert the triplex back into a single-family home and repair fire damage.
They received another permit in 2006 for new heat and air. Final inspections for all work were completed in 2007.
Vue said they planned to move into the home, but he lost his job as a technician at a local plant. The couple were putting three children through college and tried to sell the house with no luck.
Eventually, they turned it into a rental property to generate income, he said.
In 2009, the couple bought the laundromat on South Fulton Street. Vue said they now own seven other rental properties.
Vue said he has offered one of their rental homes to the Cowan family but did not know if they will move in.
Jonathan and Shelley Palmer, who live next door, are collecting non-perishable food items, housewares, toiletries, toys, clothing and other items for the family.
The children wear boy’s size 4T or 5-6, girl’s size 6-7, boy’s size 10-12 and men’s size 32 pants and large shirts.
Donations can be left on the porch at 103 Mitchell Ave.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy