House fire displaces western Rowan couple

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2019

By Mark Wineka

MOUNT ULLA — A Wednesday afternoon fire caused significant fire and smoke damage to a western Rowan County home, displacing the couple who have lived there about 30 years.

A neighbor noticed fire coming from the eaves of the one-story house’s western side about 2:15 p.m. The West Rowan Fire Department reported it as a working fire by 2:33 p.m.

Sherry Edwards, one of the owners of the house, was working at Community Grocery in Cleveland when the fire was reported. She said she and her husband would be able to stay with a brother-in-law or friends.

No one was injured, and the Edwardses’ dog, Jack, was outside during the fire.

Sherry Edwards said she left the house for work about 11:30 a.m.

“And I didn’t leave anything on or nothing,” she said. “Stuff happens. … You don’t ever know, do you?”

The fire damaged a living room and two bedrooms in the home at 380 Woodgrove Drive, which is off Bear Poplar Road. Windows were knocked out on that side of the house.

“Everything’s got heavy smoke damage,” West Rowan Assistant Fire Chief Andy Russell said.

The fire did not reach the garage on the opposite side of the structure. Sherry Edwards said a 1965 Nova and 1972 Chevrolet truck were housed in the garage.

She said she hoped her photographs, which hold many memories, were not lost in the fire.

Numerous departments responded, providing mutual aid with tankers and manpower. They included Cleveland, Franklin, Locke, Atwell, Salisbury and the Rowan Rescue Squad.

The Wayside Fire Department in Iredell County served as a water point.

Russell said everything apparently was locked and closed before the fire, which might have been smoldering for a long time because of the acrid smell firefighters noticed.

“We were fixing to remodel this spring,” Edwards said.

The Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Russell noted the West Rowan Fire Department was the only 100 percent volunteer department on the scene.

The department also covers an area in which there are only three fire hydrants — all at West Rowan High School — and that means it’s always important for other departments to help by bringing water and manpower.