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Elderly man dies after business explosion, fire in Catawba Co.

RAW VIDEO: Helmet cam shows firefighters battling business fire
Published: Mar. 2, 2015 at 8:06 PM EST|Updated: Apr. 1, 2015 at 7:06 PM EDT
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CONOVER, NC (WBTV) - A man suffering from severe burns after an explosion and fire at a Catawba County business earlier this week, has died, according to Conover officials. Three others, including two firefighters, were injured in the fire.

Billy Bumgarner, 79, died at the Wake Forest Burn Center at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem Thursday night, officials say.

The incident happened just before 2:15 p.m. Monday at a grading business on Highway 16 North near C and B Farm Road in Conover. Investigators say the fire started after a fuel oil drum exploded when it was cut with a plasma cutting torch.

Bumgarner was airlifted from the scene with burns to 65 percent of his body. Dearl Bumgarner, 55, was taken by ambulance to Catawba Valley Medical Center where he was treated and released.

Conover firefighters Andrew Yount and Jimmy Stewart who were responding to the blaze, were taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center for treatment, officials say. They were released Monday evening.

It took firefighters about an hour to knock down the flames.

Highway 16 was closed while crews worked the scene. Drivers were being detoured onto St. John's Church Road and Shooktown Road.

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