Elderly man, several dogs found dead after house fire | News
SALISBURY - At first investigators didn't know they were dealing with at the house on Leonard Road.
"Call came in as a 911 hang up," said Rowan County Fire Marshal Tom Murphy.
Someone called 911 just before 4 am Wednesday, but the phone went dead before they could tell dispatchers what was wrong. A deputy rushed to the scene to find the house at 3530 Leonard Road engulfed in flames.
One of the occupants, 79 year old Mary Everhart, was walking down the road, her roommate, 78 year old Herman Brown, was still inside the house.
Video: Man found dead in fire
"One of the occupants had not gotten out of the house," Murphy added.
Everhart told investigators she had awakened Brown and thought he had gotten out, but his body was located still in the house around noon.
Heavy smoke still rolled from the house in the afternoon hours.
The roof, and two walls collapsed into the basement.
Firefighters said they faced a tough and dangerous job because there were so many belongings packed inside the small brick house.
Through the day firefighters put nearly 20,000 gallons of water on the basement to drown the hotspots. The SBI and Sheriff's also are investigating.
"Anytime we have a fatality we notify the sheriff's department investigators and the SBI if there is a fatality on a fire," Murphy explained.
Family members watched firefighters as they worked. They were anxious to know what started the fire, but investigators have not determined the cause.
Investigators say Mary Everhart also tried to open several kennels to let dogs out, but was forced away by the fire. As many as 5 dogs died in the house.
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