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Fire division chief says 23 fires so far in January

SALISBURY — January is always a busy time of year for firefighters, said Rowan County Fire Division Chief Deborah Horne.

Because many people use portable heaters and wood stoves in winter, there are usually more accidental fires than in the spring or fall, she said.

But Horne said that 23 — the number of fires reported in Rowan County so far this month — is “a lot.”

Just this week, Horne said, there have been five fires.

Two of them happened Sunday night — one in East Spencer and one in the Ellis Cross Country fire district.

East Spencer Fire Chief Shawn McBride said his station got the call about the fire at a home on East Henderson Street about 6:5o p.m. Sunday.

McBride said it was a second-alarm fire that took more than two hours to put out. In addition to his department, six other departments responded: Salisbury, Ellis Cross Country, Granite Quarry, Union, Miller’s Ferry and Spencer.

McBride said the back of the house was badly burned but the front of the house is salvageable. No one was injured.

Horne said the fire started in a bedroom and that the investigation of what caused it is still underway.

Later Sunday night, Horne said, a one-alarm fire was reported at a house on Hawkinstown Road that has been vacant for years. She said someone set the fire and that it had been burning “for a while” before firefighters were alerted. Horne said no one was injured.

On Monday afternoon, a fire at a home on Rock Spring Drive displaced five people.

Horne said the fire started while an all-terrain vehicle was charging outside the home. Engineers are looking into what caused the ATV to catch fire.

Two other fires have been reported since Monday, with one in a car and one in an RV.

The car fire started in the dashboard about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday on Briggs Road.

The RV fire started Thursday afternoon in an RV parked on Regency Road. Horne said no one was in the RV at the time and that firefighters were able to put out the fire before the flames spread to a nearby garage.

The investigation of the RV fire has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Horne said no one was physically injured in any of the fires this week.

People can take a number of steps to prevent accidental home and property fires, Horne said.

“Don’t overload your outlets, and make sure that your surge protector or your power strips are UL-approved,” Horne said. “Any electrical devices, make sure it’s UL-approved.”

Horne also said kerosene heaters should be filled outside the home and that people with baseboard heating should make sure curtains and clothes do not touch the heaters.

“Also, smoke detectors,” Horne said. “That’s a huge one, because we want to make sure everyone has one.”

For more information, contact Horne at 704-216-8916.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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