Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2013

WOODLEAF — Family members at an Old Oak Lane mobile home were able to leave before an accidental fire consumed the structure late Friday afternoon. Officials say someone inside was burning incense that led to the bedroom fire.
Annie Rogers, who rents the property in the 1100 block of Old Oak Lane, off Campbell Road, said she was shampooing her carpet and set the incense across an ashtray. She left it unattended and returned to see the dresser was on fire. She told her daughter and grandchildren to run, but she tried to stay behind.
“I was trying to find my dog. The smoke got too much for me,” Rogers said.
She was unable to find her dog, a toy Pomeranian named Thor.
She wasn’t able to put out the fire, and when she started being overcome by smoke, she ran out of the home. The Pomeranian perished in the fire.
Another dog was saved and officials did not find a cat that was inside the home when the fire started.
“The incense dropped onto cloth on the dresser and started a fire. The window was up and gave the fire more oxygen, causing the fire to spread,” said Fire Investigator Deborah Horne.
Neighbor Marsha Davis called 911 when one of the grandchildren knocked on her door, saying the family’s house was on fire. When Davis didn’t see Rogers and the grandchild didn’t know if Rogers got out of the home, she told emergency dispatchers someone was still inside. The initial 911 dispatch call reported a woman trapped inside the home.
When Rogers ran out of the house, Davis said she called emergency officials back to tell them the woman had gotten out.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Fred Bowers, another neighbor.
Bowers also called for help when another of Rogers’ grandchildren knocked on his door. The first thing he did after calling was count how many people were out of the house, he said.
Rogers, her daughter and five grandchildren live at the home. The family had been living at the home for four years. The Rowan County Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting them.
Multiple fire departments responded to the fire, including Woodleaf, Franklin, Locke and Jerusalem fire departments.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.