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Probe continues into fatal house fire

HIGH POINT — Authorities on Tuesday released the name of the 64-year-old man who died in a house fire late last week and said that the cause of the blaze had not yet been determined.

Micheal Scott Gregory lived in the two-story house in the 1100 block of W. Green Drive that caught fire around 2:40 a.m. Friday, the High Point Police Department told The High Point Enterprise.

The State Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the N.C. State Fire Marshal are assisting with the investigation into the cause of the fire, Deputy Chief Brian Evans of the High Point Fire Department said.

Evans said there’s no time frame for completing the investigation.

“It could be a while before they even name a cause to the fire,” Evans said when asked whether the fire was accidental or intentionally set. “They could have something at the end of this week or it could be the end of September. It’s kind of hard to tell.”

The fire and smoke charred most of the house black. The fire department estimates it caused $50,000 worth of damage.

The property had a total tax-assessed value of $70,100, according to Guilford County property records.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross was called to help four other people who lived in the house and escaped unharmed, Evans said. | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul

Insurance ‘king’ invests in HPU
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — High Point University’s new library will be named for a man once known as “king of the London insurance market” and his wife.

John and Lorraine Charman of Palm Beach, Florida, and Bermuda donated $30 million toward the library, a project expected to cost $80 million, High Point University President Nido Qubein announced at a board of trustees reception Monday evening at the Kahn Hotel on HPU’s campus. The Charmans are retired business executives and parents of a current HPU senior, Olivia Charman.

“John and Lorraine Charman are a wonderful couple who stepped up with faithful courage to invest in our library and in several other important projects on campus,” Qubein said. “They are planting seeds of greatness for HPU students like their daughter Olivia.”

John Charman served as the CEO and executive chairman of the board of directors for Sompo Holdings Inc. from 2013 to 2021, and he previously founded and held chief executive roles at a series of companies. He was reported to have made more than $311 million in 2013 when he sold his Endurance Specialty Holdings to Sompo for $6.3 billion.

Lorraine Charman served in executive roles in human resources with several companies until retiring in 2006 as chief human resources officer for Axis Capital Holdings Ltd.

The Charmans have a love for literature and printed books, Lorraine Charman said. She said her parents instilled a love of books and libraries in her. Her father filled nearly every room in the first floor of their house with bookshelves he built himself.

“From my parents, this is such an amazing moment to me,” she said, choking on her words as she became emotional talking about her parents.

John Charman said that when he was a young man, “the public library was the very heart and soul of our community,” and he said that what a university community thinks about its library is a measure of the quality of education it provides.

The Charmans built what Qubein described as a large, elaborate home library that John Charman told the crowd they have filled with signed, first-edition copies of classic works of literature.

This Charmans’ gift is part of the $100 million that Qubein announced in March that HPU had received from three families for its major expansion, which will include new schools of law, dentistry, nursing and entrepreneurship.

The new John and Lorraine Charman Library is expected to be completed in 2025-26 and will have 150,000 square feet of textbooks, digital databases, private study space, and a gallery featuring historic artifacts and displays of HPU’s expanding collection of artwork. It will be on the main campus next to the R.G. Wanek Center on Panther Drive.

Plans filed for new Zaxby’s

HIGH POINT — Chicken restaurant chain Zaxby’s has filed development plans for a new High Point location.

A site plan is under review by the city for a 3,000-square-foot building that would be constructed from the ground up on an undeveloped outparcel at the corner of W. Wendover Avenue and Penny Road.

The address of the 1.48-acre site is 4015 Precision Way. It’s diagonally across W. Wendover Avenue from an existing Zaxby’s at 3895 Brian Jordan Place in the Palladium shopping center.

Zaxby’s headquarters did not respond to a request for comment as to whether it plans to maintain the existing location.

It has one other High Point restaurant at 1827 N. Main St.

It submitted plans to the city in July for a 56-seat restaurant with a drive-thru at the corner outparcel next to a Mattress Warehouse store and in front of Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The initial site plan states there would be no direct access to the restaurant from Wendover Avenue or Penny Road, with Precision Way to serve as the only point of ingress and egress for the property.

City officials are awaiting a second site plan submission from the applicant, along with design and construction plans. | 336-888-3531


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