HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A fire destroyed a man's childhood home in High Point Thursday morning, but according to city public records, the home should not have been there.
In August, High Point's code enforcement office ordered the homeowner to tear it down or repair it by Oct. 2, but that didn't happen.
Firefighters said while getting the house up to code may not have prevented a fire from starting, it likely could have stopped it from destroying the home.
When you look at 1011 Granby Ave. compared to other homes in its neighborhood, you might mistake it for being abandoned. But firefighters said David Spry, who owns the home and property, was living there when flames took over his home just before 10:30 a.m.
He got out safely, but he was overwhelmed and didn't want to show his face on camera.
"I was worried about it spreading, but I almost got it out," he said. "But another piece of clothes would catch fire, then another piece, and the smoke started building and I had to run out."
The house is destroyed, but the City of High Point's website shows it already didn't meet safe housing standards before the fire.
According to a notice from the city dated Sept. 4, 2017, the house is unfit for people to live in and code violation notices go back to last year.
But Spry says he did live there.
"I've been doing a little bit of traveling around, but I moved back here," he said. "I've been staying there because it didn't cost much to live there."
Spry left to stay with friends before we could ask him about the code violations. Public records show he and another man named Tony Spry both own the home.
"It was my parents' house, and my daddy had it built way back when," Spry said. "And they've been living here, and I was born and I lived there most of my life."
The city's website shows high grass, trees blocking entrances and overgrowth around the house all violate city code.
Firefighers on scene said that made putting out the fire much more difficult. They had to saw their way through the plants just to get inside.
Firefighters also said there was no water, power or utility services turned on. It's still not clear how the fire started, but fire officials say they don't think it was started on purpose.
The fire chief said the home was so damaged, they may never know what started the fire.