Fire guts apartments in Granite Quarry

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2012

GRANITE QUARRY — Dan Pope had just arrived back at his Granite Terrace apartment and was getting ready to eat dinner when he smelled smoke at about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.
He figured the icky odor was coming from someone nearby burning leaves, but he quickly learned it was more serious when a neighbor knocked on his door to tell him the apartment at the end of the five-unit building was on fire.
Pope said he immediately grabbed a bucket and filled it with water.
“By the time I got down there with it, hell the whole place was burning up,” he said.
Granite Quarry Fire Chief David Morris said when crews arrived at 726 S. Main St. they saw heavy flames coming from the two apartments on the left end.
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get the fire under control, working on the exterior of the two end apartments and going inside the middle unit to knock it down, Morris said.
“They did an outstanding job of stopping the fire from spreading to the adjacent apartments,” he said.
No one was injured, but all five residents who lived in the units were displaced Wednesday.
Pope said the tenants helped each another and their pets get out of harm’s way.
The fire gutted the two end apartments. Morris said the middle unit has severe heat, water and smoke damage. The two apartments on the right end sustained minor to moderate smoke damage.
Disaster responders from the local chapter of the American Red Cross traveled to the scene of the blaze to provide emergency housing, food, clothing and essential basic needs for the residents.
Property manager Nate Chambers said it’s possible those who live on the right end might be able to move back in once inspectors take a look at the property and a full cleaning is done. He’ll help those who have to move find a new place to stay long-term.
We just want to make sure everyone has a safe place to live,” he said. “A big concern is making sure they have things like a bed, a dresser, cooking utensils because some of these folks have lost everything.
“This is just tragic.”
Pope, who has lived in the far right unit for about a month, is one of the lucky ones. He’ll likely be able to salvage almost all of his belongings, including a 60-year-old guitar that he considers his most prized possession.
Morris said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but it appears it started the apartment on the far left end.
The Granite Quarry and Rowan County fire marshals offices will conduct an investigation today.
Faith, Salisbury, Rockwell City, Rockwell Rural, Union and South Salisbury fire departments along with the Rowan County Rescue Squad and Granite Quarry Police Department provided assistance at the scene.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.