Salisbury man found dead in Rimer Road house fire

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, May 1, 2019

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — A Salisbury man was found dead inside his Rimer Road home Wednesday after an early-morning fire.

Authorities said 51-year-old Donald Ray Basinger was unable to get out of the home at 665 Rimer Road in the southeastern part of Rowan County. Either a passer-by or a neighbor called 911 about 4:30 a.m. to say the one-level home was engulfed in flames.

Firefighters knew early on that someone had not made it out.

“We had a lot of fire in the center of the house,” said Bostian Heights Fire Department Chief Mike Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said firefighters tried to rescue Basinger but they encountered “a heavy fire load.” Fire crews had problems getting inside the house because the power was still on and started arching, Zimmerman said.

Some firefighters could feel electricity through fire hoses and had to attack the fire from a different angle until a utility crew arrived.

Donnie Rose, 16, said he often talked about life with Basinger, his neighbor. Rose said Basinger assisted several times when his lawn equipment needed repair.

Rose said it was sad to see his neighbor died in a tragic way.

According to Rowan County Fire Division Chief Deborah Horne, Basinger’s body was found in the back part of the home. Horne said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Rowan County Sheriff’s Office detectives also began an investigation because the homeowner didn’t survive the fire.

Basinger’s family remained on the scene about 8 a.m. as firefighters continued to pour water onto the smoldering fire.

Authorities said foul play is not suspected. Detectives were seen carrying guns out of the home as a safety measure.

It’s not clear if Basinger had a medical emergency or was trapped inside the home. Fire officials said the house was his family home.

In addition to Bostian Heights, other departments responding included South Salisbury, Rockwell Rural, Locke, Faith and Granite Quarry.