Video: Firefighters find body after dousing fire at USA Pawn – Greensboro News & Record

Posted: Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Updated 1:55 a.m.


GREENSBORO — The identity of a body found after a Greensboro business burned Monday may not be determined until late today, officials said.

Passers-by called 911 about 8:40 a.m. to report a fire at USA Pawn, 2010 Randleman Road, according to a news release.

More than 30 firefighters battled the fire for about four hours before they could safely enter the building, officials said.

When firefighters went in, they discovered a body, police said. The identity and the cause of death could not be verified on Monday.

Greensboro police notified the family of a USA Pawn employee on Monday that a body had been found. Lt. Jill Gladieux said investigators will take the employee’s dental records with them when they attend the autopsy today at the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office.

People near the building called 911 and reported smelling smoke about 8 a.m., Gladieux said. It was not clear if the smoke smell came from the shop.

An employee had turned off the building’s alarms at 8:30 a.m., she said, and what time the employee was supposed to open the store was unclear.

About 10 minutes after the alarms were turned off, the 911 center began receiving calls from witnesses who said smoke and flames were showing through the roof.

Police closed Randleman Road while firefighters worked to put the fire out. The road remained closed late into the evening as investigators searched for clues in the ashes. The fire is being jointly investigated by the police and fire departments, Gladieux said.

“Fire and police are working to determine if there was a crime in the fire,” she said. “The M.E. (medical examiner’s) report might determine if there was a crime in the death.”

Police and firefighters remained on the scene to provide security for the business, Deputy Fire Chief Clarence Hunter said.

USA Pawn is on the corner of Randleman Road and Garrett Street. Tax records show that Susan Fisher, who lives in Virginia Beach, Va., owns the property. The building was valued at $355,000.

Attempts to reach Fisher were unsuccessful Monday. It was unclear whether she also operates the business.

The fire appears to be the second fatal one in Greensboro this year. Timothy Craig McMaster, 48, of 1711 Lazy Lane died April 1 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where paramedics took him after a March 27 fire involving chemicals at a Sherwin-Williams paint plant.

Anyone with information about Monday’s fire is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (336) 373-1000.


Updated 5:54 p.m.

GREENSBORO — Police have obtained the dental records of a USA Pawn employee who was supposed to work today for comparison with that of a body found inside the burned business, police Lt. Jill Gladieux said. (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at end of story. 8:17 p.m./April 7, 2014.)

Police have notified the employee’s family that a body was found, but identifying the body is difficult because of its condition after fire consumed the building this morning, police said.

The employee was scheduled to work this morning and the building’s alarm system was turned off at 8:30 a.m., Gladieux said.

Several people called 911 to report a fire at the business at 2010 Randleman Road, police said. It was unclear if one of those calls came from inside the business.

The manner of death is pending an autopsy by the medical examiner. 

Authorities are in the process of removing the body for transport to the Medical Examiner’s Office, Gladieux said.


Updated 4:41 p.m.

GREENSBORO — A body has been discovered in the USA Pawn building that caught fire this morning, police said in a news release.

Firefighters responded to USA Pawn at approximately 8:44 a.m. after several people called 911 to report that smoke and flames were visible from the structure, the release states.

Firefighters attempted to enter the business, but had to retreat because of heavy smoke, flames, and concerns about the building’s structural integrity. After extinguishing the flames, firefighters searched the interior of the building and found a deceased person, the release states.

Due to the condition of the body, the identity of the person is not readily apparent, according to the release. Manner of death is pending autopsy by the medical examiner.

The cause of the fire is being jointly investigated by the Greensboro Police Department and the Greensboro Fire Department.

Because the origin of the fire is unknown, and the manner of death is unknown, police are treating this as a crime scene and have closed Randleman Road in both directions.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 336-373-1000. Calls to Crime Stoppers are completely anonymous. Tips to Crime Stoppers can also be texted to 274637 using the keyword badboyz. Information provided to Crime Stoppers could result in a reward up to $2,000.


Updated 4:35 p.m.

GREENSBORO — Northbound and southbound lanes of Randleman Road between Lawrence and West Terrell streets are closed as fire officials investigate a fire this morning at USA Pawn.


Updated 9:47 a.m.

GREENSBORO − Firefighters are dealing with two fires in Greensboro this morning.

One is at 2325 Kirkpatrick Place. The other is at USA Pawn at 2010 block of Randleman Road. 

Clarence Hunter, deputy chief of the Greensboro Fire Department, was at the scene of the second fire and said the call for it came in at around 8:40 a.m.

No one was injured, but he said he did not know if anyone was in the building at the time the fire started.

Seven fire trucks and 30 firefighters are on the scene.

The southbound lanes of Randleman Road from Lawrence Street to West Terrell Street are closed because of the fire.

Check back for updates. 


GREENSBORO − Firefighters have nearly finished putting out a two-alarm house fire on the 2300 block of Kirkpatrick Place, according to officials. 

The Greensboro Fire Department was notified of a fire at the  home around 8:45 a.m., said Deputy Chief Clarence Hunter. 

Firefighters are now in “maintenance mode” and monitoring the fire, he said. 

“There’s going to be significant damage,” he said. 

Hunter said he’s not aware of any injuries. 

Check back for updates. 

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