Firefighter injured as flames gut building in Kannapolis

Updated: May. 23, 2019 at 10:23 AM EDT
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - A firefighter was injured after flames ripped through a storage building in the midway section of Kannapolis Thursday morning, appearing to destroy the structure.

“Very scary, for me to be able to come out the back door and see the flames like that and feel the heat, that’s very scary, especially since I was in the house sleeping, I didn’t know anything about until my grandma’s friend came banging on the windows," said Alyssa Thomas, who lives in an apartment right across the street.

The fire broke out sometime before 10 a.m. at a building on S. Main Street at Bethpage Road. As crews were battling the flames, officials said, a portion of the roof collapsed and struck a firefighter on the head.

“We had a partial roof collapse, some of these buildings have concrete and heavy materials on the roof and some of that fell down on his head, at that point he was brought out and treated," said Kirk Beard of the Kannapolis Fire Department.

Firefighter Steven Tilley was taken to the hospital. He will kept overnight “for observation.” according to officials.

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MAJOR FIRE: Flames ripped through a building attached to a small storefront in downtown Kannapolis. More than a dozen firefighters are battling the fire right now »

Posted by WBTV News on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fire crews from Cabarrus and Rowan counties responded to the fire as at least fifty firefighters battled the flames.

The building, used as storage, appears to be attached to a storefront. Adjacent buildings are occupied businesses.

Local resident Chad Mitchell was one of the first to see it burning, and like other witnesses, reported hearing a small explosion.

“I would say the flames were rolling out of it, maybe 20-30 feet, and just dense black smoke and after that pop or boom it took the storefront in two minutes," Mitchell said.

What may have sparked the flames has not been released. The fire is under investigation by fire and police officials.

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