Father, son lose everything in blaze

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

SALISBURY — What was supposed to be a joyous occasion, a proud father sending his son off for the last day of high school, was upended after a fire consumed their Salisbury home shortly after midnight.

The father, Willie Jackson, awoke around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday in his home in the 300 block of Pickler Road. Jackson noticed a red glare from the living room and investigated. He discovered a fire in its early stages burning behind the couch.

In the following moments, Jackson attempted to extinguish the fire but quickly realized the effort would be futile. He immediately ran for his son, Justin Dennis, and the two got out of the home.

Dennis only had time to grab his phone before the two could escape.

As Ellis Fire Department and other assisting agencies fought the blaze, Jackson and his son just watched as they lost everything.

“Between the fire damage and the water, everything is gone,” Jackson said.

Fortunately, their dog, outside at the time, survived the blaze, but even Jackson’s car was destroyed.

Jackson is a machine operator at Westlake Chemical in East Spencer. Dennis is a senior at North Rowan High School. He is set to graduate on Saturday.

For now, the family plans to stay in a hotel.

The American Red Cross assisted in the relocation efforts for Jackson and Dennis.

American Red Cross Regional Communication Manager Kaitlyn Connolly indicated that donations can be made through various channels.

Anyone wishing to donate can call 1-800-REDCROSS, visit redcross.org. or text REDCROSS to 90999.

Connolly also explained that donations designated for certain chapters or disasters will stay with the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

In addition, if one wishes to donate directly to the victims of this tragedy, they can also drop off any type of donations by Ellis Fire Department on Old Mocksville Road. From there, they can be taken directly to the family.