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Thread: LODD Two North Carolina Firefighters Killed in Lumber Yard Blaze

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    LODD Two North Carolina Firefighters Killed in Lumber Yard Blaze

    Two North Carolina Firefighters Killed in Lumber Yard Blaze
    Massive fire consumed lumber millwork building.

    Posted: 03-07-2008
    Updated: 03-07-2008 07:22:26 PM
    Story by

    SALISBURY, N.C. --

    Two firefighters were killed and three others injured fighting a massive blaze at a business in Salisbury early Friday.

    One of the fallen men died at the scene and was draped with an American flag as he was loaded into the ambulance. Other firefighters removed their helmets as they stood solemnly by outside the burning Salisbury Millwork building.

    A second firefighter died at the hospital.

    Fire Chief Bob Parnell identified the men as 40-year-old Victor Isler and 19-year-old Justin Monroe. He said both were Salisbury city firefighters who were part of the hose team that was first to respond to the blaze along with five other crews.

    "They are our friends, brothers, our buddies, and we're certainly going to miss both of them," he said.

    Parnell said Capt. Rick Barkley, supervisor of the hose crew, also received second and possibly third degree burns in the fire and was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center before being transferred to North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem for treatment. Parnell said he is expected to be released by Friday night.

    Others were injured during rescue attempts. At least two are being treated for first and second degree burns at Rowan Regional Medical Center.

    Parnell said many rescue crews tried to get to the fallen men.

    "They were very gallant and brave," he said.

    The five-alarm fire destroyed the Salisbury Millwork building at the intersection of Julian Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. More than 100 firefighters, with the help of a steady rain, reduced the inferno to smoldering rubble. Firefighters are still putting water on hot spots.

    The fire burned uncontrollably for hours after it began around 7 a.m. Workers at the woodworking business said they arrived, saw the flames and called 911.

    Flames burst through the roof shortly after 9 a.m. and the firefighters inside were evacuated. Explosions and walls tumbling could be heard outside around 10 a.m.

    Surrounding towns and the city of Charlotte sent in fire crews to help pour water on the fire. Charlotte's chapter of the Red Cross also sent support to the scene. Salisbury, a town of about 27,000 people, is about 40 miles north of Charlotte.

    At this point, fire investigators have no idea how the blaze began. The Salisbury Post is reporting the fire began in the basement, which contained storage, shelving, a conference room and many of the company's records.

    The site has a history of fires, according to the Salisbury Post. The building used to be Salisbury Lumber and Supply, and a fire there in 1959 was called "the most spectacular and damaging fire in Salisbury history." Another fire in 1998 gutted a portion of Salisbury Lumber and Supply.

    The original plant on the site, Arey Brick and Lumber Co., was destroyed by fire in 1939.

    Salisbury Millwork was founded in 1947 and moved to its current location in the last decade. It's a family-owned milling firm that makes laminate cabinets, moldings and other products. The firm employs about 35 workers.

    Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Funeral Services Set for North Carolina Firefighters Killed in Lumber Yard Blaze

    Funeral Services Set for North Carolina Firefighters Killed in Lumber Yard Blaze

    Posted: 03-10-2008
    Updated: 03-10-2008 01:35:51 PM

    SALISBURY, N.C. -- Funeral services will take place on Thursday, March 13 for two Salisbury firefighters who where killed while battling a lumber yard blaze last week.

    Firefighters Victor Isler, 40, and Justin Monroe, 19, were part of the hose team that was first to respond to the morning blaze on March 7.

    The services will be held at 2 p.m. at the Dearborne Chapel at Catawba College, 2300 West Innes Street, Salisbury, N.C. The building houses an auditorium that seats approximately 4,000 people.

    Information for firefighters planning to attend the funeral procession will be provided as it becomes available.

    Visitation for Firefighter Isler will be held Wednesday, March 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Lyerly Funeral Home, 515 S. Main Street, Salisbury, N.C.

    Following Thursday's services, Isler's body will be transported back to his home state of New York for burial.

    Visitation for Firefighter Monroe will be held Wednesday, March 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Miller's Ferry Volunteer Fire Department, 2650 Long Ferry Road, Salisbury, N.C.

    Monroe was a member of Miller's Ferry since he joined the junior firefighters program at the age of 14.

    Burial will follow at Rowan Memorial Park, 4125 Franklin Center Community Drive, Salisbury, N.C.

    A procession from Charlotte to Salisbury was planned for Monday, March 10, transporting the bodies of the fallen firefighters to the city following autopsies at the Carolinas Medical Center where they were taken on Saturday afternoon.

    The escort is to leave Charlotte at 3 p.m. and is expected to arrive in Salisbury at approximately 4 p.m. The procession will travel northbound on I-85 to Miller's Ferry, it will then travel southbound to Salisbury Fire Station one and will continue on to Lyerly Funeral Home.

    Following the deaths of Isler and Monroe the local LAST team, the grief counseling arm of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, has assisted the families in making the arrangements.

    "No one line of duty death is the same and every time we respond, there are so many dynamics to it," North Carolina Coordinator for LAST Derick Clouston said. "What we want to do is find out what the family wants. We take the families wishes and try to do that."

    Clouston's team also worked alongside the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the North Carolina State Firefighters Association to help the families with the arrangements.

    Besides the funeral arrangements, LAST also assisted with applying for PSOB and state benefits along with any other available grants that would help the family. The team also contacts agencies such as USFA and NIOSH.

    "We make sure the families are taken care of and know that someone is looking after them and knows what they need to get done," Clouston said.

    Memorial funds for the families of Firefighers Monroe and Isler have been setup at the Salisbury and Harrisburg locations of the Bank of North Carolina:
    415 Jake Alexander Blvd W
    Salisbury, NC 28147
    Phone: (704) 633-3436
    Fax: (704) 647-0951

    3890 Main Street
    Harrisburg, NC 28075
    Phone: (704) 455-1070
    Fax: (704) 455-1260

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    Fallen Salisbury, N.C. Firefighters Laid to Rest

    Fallen Salisbury, N.C. Firefighters Laid to Rest
    Posted: 03-14-2008
    Updated: 03-14-2008 01:19:16 PM

    The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)

    Isler to be Transported to N.Y. for Burial$58719
    Visitation for Firefighter Isler will be held Sunday, March 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Christopher T. Jordan Funeral Home, 302 Long Beach Road, Island Park, NY 11558.

    A burial service will be held Monday, March 17 at 11 a.m. at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale, N.Y.

    SALISBURY -- A black cloth covered Salisbury's memorial for fallen firefighters Thursday.

    Men dressed in white gloves and dark uniforms stood outside the funeral home where the bodies of firefighters Victor Isler and Justin Monroe lay.

    And hundreds of residents lined downtown streets as this city paid tribute to the two men who died fighting a mammoth fire a week ago.

    More than 2,500 attendees gathered at chapels near the downtown to pay tribute to Isler, 40, and Monroe, 19, who were on a hose line inside the Salisbury Millwork building when flames overtook them. Hundreds of others stood on sidewalks, hands on their hearts, as firetrucks carrying Isler and Monroe passed through the city.

    But the public memorial gave way to private ceremony of mourning for the families of the two men, both of whom had recently realized the dream of becoming full-time firefighters.

    Isler worked as emergency medical technician in New York and moved to Salisbury a year ago to fight fires.

    Monroe asked to ride out on calls with firefighters. He has just gotten his job with Salisbury's fire department last year.

    "His dream was to be a true firefighter and that's what you all did for him." Isler's sister Linda Lorenzo said.

    Salisbury fire Chief Bob Parnell handed badges and hats to family members of the two men and saluted them.

    Another of Isler's sisters, Laura Langdon, told attendees how her brother teased her because he introduced her to her husband.

    Monroe's friends told tales of how Monroe was sometimes an overeager hunter who would sometimes shoot at the game first and warn fellow hunters afterward.

    Family members said the two men would hate to be praised as special. But any attempt to say they were not would be futile, said Greg Shue, the former chief of Millers Ferry Volunteer Fire Department, who gave Monroe his first job as a volunteer firefighter.

    "Obviously, these fellows are heroes in anybody's eyes," Shue said.

    Family members planned to take Isler's body to New York for burial. Monroe's body was taken for burial at nearby Rowan Memorial Park.

    As the funeral ended, investigators seemed to be wrapping up their probe of the fire's cause.

    State and federal investigators had left the millwork building Thursday afternoon. Some of the walls that remained standing after the fire had been leveled.

    City officials announced Thursday they would provide an update on the fire investigation, perhaps releasing preliminary report on what started the blaze.

    Fire investigation

    Authorities say they will answer questions today about how a fire may have started that destroyed Salisbury Millwork and killed two firefighters.

    Federal investigators have finished their probe of the cause and origin of the millwork fire and plan to release their preliminary findings today, said Earl Woodham, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Woodham said the federal investigators are ready to hand off the probe to local investigators.

    Witnesses have said the fire seemed to start in the showroom of the 61-year-old company and that firefighters said they seemed to have it under control. The fire then spread to a loading dock and overcame Salisbury firefighters Victor Isler, 40, and Justin Monroe, 19.

    The investigation of the Salisbury fire was conducted by members of the same ATF team that looked into a June warehouse fire in Charleston that killed nine firefighters, Woodham said.
    To see more of The Charlotte Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2008, The Charlotte Observer, N.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

    Courtesy of Michael Porowski
    Firefighters with the Salisbury Fire Department escort the bodies of Victor Isler and Justin Monroe to the funeral service.

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