Three displaced by Grove Street fire in Salisbury

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A fire that drew dozens of emergency personnel on Monday ripped through a Grove Street residence and displaced three brothers.

No one was was hurt in the fire, which started just before 7:50 p.m. Sidney Nicol, one of the three brothers living in the house, said the fire was intentionally set. Salisbury Fire Department Battalion Chief David Morris couldn’t immediately confirm or deny the fire was caused by arson. Morris said the cause is officially still under investigation.

As firefighters raced to the scene, a thick plume of grey smoke billowed from the house at 522 Grove Street. It could be seen for several blocks, and drew a crowd of onlookers.

A Salisbury police officer was the first emergency responder on the scene, Morris said. The police officer confirmed everyone exited the house safely, Morris said. Two dogs were found outside of the house. Salisbury resident Pat Whitley, who stopped after seeing the house on fire, took the dogs to a neighbor.

The first fire engine responded within four minutes.

Morris said the fire was mostly focused in the front portion of the house. It extended into the attic, he said.

In addition to firefighters on the ground, a group also climbed onto the roof and cut a hole in the structure to allow heat to escape.

Morris said the building appeared structurally intact, except for portions of the front.

Nicol, 25, arrived as firefighters were getting the fire under control and spoke with his brothers. He said one of his brothers was locked in the bathroom when the fire started. Another brother was locked out of the house, Nicol said.

Nicol said an unnamed female set the fire and left before emergency personnel arrived.

Morris wouldn’t confirm or deny Nicole’s story.

The American Red Cross was called to help the three brothers.

A total of four fire engines, two ladder trucks and two battalion chiefs responded to the fire, Morris said. In addition to the Salisbury Fire Department, the Ellis Cross Country and Spencer fire departments, Rowan County Rescue Squad, Rowan County EMS and Salisbury Police responded to the fire.

Morris said the quick work and training of firefighters helped stop the blaze.

“The structure was super-heated and full of smoke and our crews did a great job of getting the fire under control quickly,” Morris said.

He said summer heat can make fires more dangerous than they would be otherwise.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.