Four-alarm fire engulfs funeral home in Salisbury

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Lyerly Funeral Home (WSOC-TV)

SALISBURY, N.C. — A massive fire at a Salisbury funeral home burned for several hours on Friday and took dozens of firefighters from multiple counties to get under control.

WSOC-TV reported firefighters responded to Lyerly Funeral Home around 12:20 p.m. Firefighters initially attacked the fire from the inside, but they had to retreat after only 15 minutes when the flames and smoke became too intense.

Firefighters said they refocused their efforts to keep the fire from spreading. People in a nearby apartment complex were evacuated as a precaution.

It wasn’t until a briefing around 5 p.m. that firefighters said the fire was under control.

No one was injured. Funeral home owner Brent Lyerly told WSOC-TV that he, another employee and a visitor were inside the building at the time of the fire and escaped safely.

Caskets containing two sisters, ages 91 and 84, were inside the funeral home when the fire started. The caskets were found intact.

The funeral home is a family business. Lyerly said he went to turn up the heater around lunchtime because the building was still chilly. Employee Bill Lee was about to leave the building shortly after when he smelled smoke.

When Lee opened the door to the room containing a gas furnace, he said the fire was already out of control.

The initial call was a three-alarm fire, but it was increased to four alarms. More than 50 firefighters from several departments in Salisbury, Rowan County, Cleveland County and Union County helped battle the blaze.

Get more details from WSOC-TV.