Family smoked out a second time

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 9, 2013

SPENCER — A bad luck streak continued Saturday night in the 600 block of Third Street in Spencer, where the third fire in six months had residents shaking their heads.
“Time to get off Third Street,” said Rhea Milton, who rents the home at 609 Third St. that was damaged but not destroyed by flames and smoke.
Milton, her nine-year-old son and Thomas Wilson were not home when the fire started around 7 p.m. A neighbor saw smoke and called 911.
In December 2012, an electrical fire at 607 Third St. forced Milton, her son and Wilson out of the home they’d rented for several years at 607 Third St. They moved next door to 609.
“I’ve made it 40-something years without experiencing any type of house fire, and in the last six months I had two,” Wilson said.
About six weeks ago, the Melvin Gladden family escaped a fire that destroyed their rental home at 604 Third St., across the street from Saturday’s fire.
The gutted remains of Gladden’s home stood as a stark reminder as firefighters from Spencer, Salisbury, Millers Ferry and Ellis put out the blaze across the street.
It appeared Saturday’s fire started in the kitchen, landlord Daryl Padgett said. Flames burned a hole through the wall on the side of the house. Milton said she had been frying chicken before she and her son left to meet a friend around 6:30.
The Rowan County fire marshal will determine the official cause of the blaze, Spencer Fire Chief Jay Baker said.
Padgett said he had spent five weeks and about $15,000 renovating the home, which was built in the 1940s, before Milton and Wilson moved in. The mortgage will be paid off next month, Padgett said.
The April fire at the Gladden house was caused by “carelessly discarded smoking material,” the fire marshal said.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.