GRANITE QUARRY, NC (WBTV) - Friday morning, as Salisbury firefighters were paying their respects during a 9/11 memorial's moment of silence, they got the call about a house fire. Many responded to the fire in their dress uniforms.
When they arrived to the 700 block of North Salisbury Avenue in Granite Quarry, good Samaritans were in the process of helping the two residents, Chuck Corriher and Eleanor, out of the burning home.
The passersby said they were driving down Highway 52 and saw smoke coming from the home. They decided to pull over and bang on the door to make sure no one was inside. Their knocking woke up two people sleeping inside, who were able to get out safely.
'We pulled in and went knocking on the door, try to get the people up, couple other gentleman come and tried to assist me," Keith Alley said. "We finally got in and got both adults out of the house."
"We kicked in the door, the couple that was there, they were sleeping, we were able to get them and their cat out," added passer by Edward Funk. Funk had to be treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
"Absolutely, we had to figure if people were in the house and I, what else are you going to do when another human's in danger," Funk added.
As firefighters battled the blaze in the attic, they say a baby squirrel came running out of the smoke, and fell over as if it was about to die. A firefighter scooped it up and was able to give the squirrel oxygen. He has since been released back to the wild.
"He came out of the attic, he crawled out of the attic down to the porch and he couldn't make it any further, he got smoke in the attic," said Salisbury firefighter Chris Haynes. "Give him some oxygen, it'll help clear his lungs out and hopefully give him a chance, he looks like a little baby."
A cat was also rescued from the home by firefighters, but the homeowner said that two other cats died in the fire.
Neither of the residents were injured, but a firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.
"The guy came over here beating on the front door and was telling us that the back of the house was on fire," Chuck Corriher said. Corriher was asleep on a couch in the front of the house. "I didn't know what happened."
"I appreciate them getting us out," said Eleanor. "I'm just thankful that we got out alive and I hate that I lost all I did, but at least I'm alive."
The home sustained heavy damage from the fire. The Fire Marshal told WBTV that it appeared the fire stared in a light fixture on the back porch of the home.