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China Grove fatal fire believed to have started in living room

CHINA GROVE — Fire officials say they believe a fatal South Main Street house fire began early Tuesday in the living room near a couch.

China Grove firefighters and investigators with the Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office remained at the scene Tuesday morning following the 1:52 a.m. fire. The home, located at 604 S. Main St. was destroyed, and the fire claimed the life of one person.

Police Chief Eddie Kluttz, who lives nearby, said he was awakened by his dog and rushed out to the fire. He, an officer and a deputy arrived at the fire.

Kluttz said the single-story home was completely engulfed when he arrived, and there was no way to get inside to check for anyone still inside the home.

Police have not confirmed the identity of the person who died, but have said a 53-year-old woman did live there alone.

Fire investigator Deborah Horne said authorities believe an alternative heat or light source was being used, and the person inside was not able to get out once the fire started. A chihuahua also died in the fire. Another chihuahua was found at a neighbor’s house.

The fire was contained to the home, but a home on the north side had some damage to its siding. It did not catch fire, Kluttz said.

The officers evacuated nearby homes in the event the fire spread.

China Grove, Landis, Bostian Heights, Locke and Atwell fire departments responded. An autopsy is expected to be performed today on the deceased, Kluttz said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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