SALISBURY -- Nobody was injured in a massive four-alarm fire Friday afternoon at Lyerly Funeral Home on South Main Street in Salisbury.
The fire broke out around 12:30 p.m. Chief Bob Parnell believes it began in the core of the building, moved upwards from the basement and out horizontally. Heavy smoke and flames were shooting from the building for a few hours, and firefighters retreated after about 15 minutes inside.
“For the safety of the firefighters, we pulled them out in a defensive mode to regroup. There was a tremendous amount of smoke emitting from this building,” said Parnell.
Nearby businesses were evacuated but there were no hazardous materials inside the building that could harm people in the vicinity. Firefighters were not able to save any of the bodies being prepared inside.
Firefighters were still working on hot spots at 4 p.m. Parnell said they likely won't know the exact cause for a few days as the investigation continues.
The owner of the funeral home, J. Brent Lyerly, said the business has been in the community for more than 50 years and they will return.
“We will be back, We will rebuild. And we can assure all of the families that we serve and that we serve in Rowan County that we will be back and we will be here for them,” said Lyerly.