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  • Tragic Fire at my Local Bow Shop in China Grove NC

    Some of you might know these Girls and some might have Moved away from here and haven't heard the Tragic News But...While hanging out Sat morning with a fellow poster of this site, I received a Phone Call from another Fellow Poster of this site who told me of This Sad News that happened Friday Night. S&S Graham Archery in China Grove was the 'Girls' to go to for GREAT Bow Work!! I have traded with them ever since I first came to NC and asked 'Wheres a good Bow Shop?...I was told to 'Go see the Girls!!!' in China Grove...I went there so much over the years, They would sometimes call me by name which always made me feel Good and I purchased My new Crossbow from them Last year among several other Bows over the years, I stopped there just a week ago to see What's new and Show them a Call I made...My Thoughts and Prayers go out to Sie and Jackie Graham...Here's the Story...Miss You Sonya

    Mother grieves after losing one of her twin daughters in explosion and fire

    CHINA GROVE — Jackie Graham says she remembers the anxiety she felt in letting her twin daughters take over the archery business run by her late husband, Buddy Sie Graham.

    Sonya Graham, the younger of the twins by 30 minutes, perished in a fire at the business late Friday night.

    S&S Graham Archery, located on U.S. 29 just north of China Grove, caught fire after an explosion about 9:30 p.m.

    Sonya Graham, 46, was unable to make it out. Four others, including twin sister Sionna “Sie” Graham, were able to escape.

    Frank Thomason, emergency management services coordinator, said Saturday morning the body of the victim has been sent to Chapel Hill for autopsy. Officials have not released a cause.

    The two sisters have been involved in the business for 25 years.

    Graham’s mother, Jackie, said Saturday it has been hard on the family.

    “I can’t accept this. I don’t question God, but I have to live with it,” she said.

    She and her daughters lived in a home on Parkside Drive in Salisbury.

    The sisters were co-owners of the business. Both were single and had no children.

    “This business was their life and their love. They were married to the business,” Jackie Graham said.

    She recalled the day when her daughters asked if they could run their father’s business. Jackie had promised they could, but only after they finished college. Both attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    It was Sonya who reminded her of that promise.

    “Sonya said, ‘We finished college,’ ” Jackie said.

    Jackie admits being reluctant to let the sisters carry on their father’s work. He died about 30 years ago of a heart attack.

    As children, the girls enjoyed time on the family farm, hunting and being outdoorsy.

    “They have been so close all through their lives,” Jackie said.

    The sisters worked hard, and they often skipped going on vacation.

    They spent Christmases with family, Jackie said.

    She recalled that Sonya was the more outspoken one of the twins. Both women could relate well to others, something they got from their father.

    Both were expert target shooters, also taught by their father.

    “When God gives you a talent, I think you should use it to the best of your ability,” she said.

    It was Sonya who brought a pot belly pig named Lulu home one day. She had it wrapped in a pink blanket.

    Jackie said both daughters loved animals, and the family farm had 14 horses. But she drew the line at having a pig in the house.

    The compromise was Lulu would stay at the shop.

    People got word of Lulu and would stop by just to see her. Lulu was outside in a kennel at the time of the fire. She was not harmed. A Labrador named, Bear, was also not injured but had some hair get a little singed, Jackie said.

    Jackie, who recently came home from the hospital after having a pacemaker placed, said she only wished God had spared her daughter.

    Jackie has one son, Michael Brooks, from a previous marriage. He lives in Granite Quarry.

    Multiple fire agencies responded to the scene Friday: Bostian Heights, Atwell, China Grove, Landis, Rockwell City, Salisbury City, South Salisbury, Locke and Faith fire departments, Rowan Rescue Squad, Rowan EMS and Emergency Management Services.

    Also, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and China Grove Police responded. Norfolk Southern Railroad officials also arrived on the scene as a precaution to check the tracks behind the business, but they found no damage.
    sad news
    Although I didn't know the women or the family,my heart goes out to anyone going thru such tragedy.My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends.
    Sorry to hear that GT. Ill pray for ther family and close ones.
    man bo thats tough to hear. their family is in our prayers. i hate to hear of stuff like that no matter who it is or where their from. its just ashame. i just found out today that a man ive known for years died last night in a car wreck, not even a half mile from his house. reckon it just goes to show ya you never know when its your time to go no matter who you are.
    This was a nice tribute you done for this lady.I'm sure it would mean a lot to her family to know someone cared enough to do this.
    UPDATE!! The Cause
    Released Today....I still can't believe this!!!

    CHINA GROVE — Chemical vapors ignited by a water heater pilot light caused the explosion and fire that claimed the life of a business owner Friday night, emergency officials said today.

    Sonya Graham, co-owner of S&S Graham Archery on South Main Street, died in the fire.

    Her twin sister and business partner, Sionna Graham, escaped from the building with three others.

    According to Frank Thomason, Rowan County chief of emergency services, employees at the business were using acetone in a taxidermy process when vapors were ignited by the pilot light of a natural gas water heater about 9:30 p.m. Friday.

    “The ignition of the vapors caused an explosion inside the building and subsequent fire,” Thomason said in an email.

    Fire investigators said five people, including the two sisters, were inside the business at the time of the explosion.

    Thomason said Sonya was cut off by the fire and unable to escape the building.

    She took shelter in an adjacent bathroom.

    “The ensuing fire caused significant damage to the area of the building where the explosion and fire occurred and subsequently the loss of life of Ms. Graham,” Thomason wrote.

    The two sisters had been involved in the business for 25 years.

    After finishing college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Graham sisters inherited the business from their father, who died from a heart attack about 30 years ago.

    “The entire public safety community offers its sincere condolences and our thoughts and prayers are with the Graham family during this time of tragic loss,” Thomason said.
    I used to buy all my archery supplys there mostly all my arrows.These were some of the nicest girls you could meet.Very sad time.
    That is so terrible GT....Creek07 sent me a message about it. It is a shame that anybody has to go out that way. From what I have read and heard they were good people with big hearts and a passion for archery. I don't know them but I grieve for any family that has to go through such loss...Truly sad for all their family and friends and customers...