Large fire breaks out in Carowinds parking lot; nearly a dozen vehicles damaged

Published: Jun. 22, 2018 at 7:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2018 at 2:03 PM EDT
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The Flint Hill Fire Chief says 11 vehicles were damaged in the blaze - most of them were...
The Flint Hill Fire Chief says 11 vehicles were damaged in the blaze - most of them were totaled. (Matthew East/Spectrum News)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Multiple cars were burned after a large fire in the Carowinds parking lot Friday afternoon.

A 2003 Ford Taurus caught fire in the south parking lot of the park Friday afternoon, spreading the flames to other vehicles.

The Flint Hill Fire Chief says 11 vehicles were damaged in the blaze - most of them were totaled.

The fire started at 3:22 p.m. and multiple WBTV viewers sent videos and streamed the fire live on Facebook.

The Flint Hill Fire Department, assisted by the Charlotte Fire Department. put out the fire in about 30 minutes and say no one was injured.

Several people reported hearing an explosion before the fire started, but officials have not confirmed a cause. York County fire officials are investigating.

York Emergency Management is evaluating an oil and gas runoff. They have a nearby storm drain backed up with a boom to prevent the oil and gas from running into it.

Officials at Carowinds said the fire department needed to secure a perimeter for their investigation earlier, but as of Friday night, the only cars affected are those that were involved in the fire.

Sherian Leonard, is a Rock Hill woman whose vehicle was destroyed during the fire. She described how she found out that her vehicle had been destroyed.

"People were calling me and saying cars were on fire and I kind of blew them off, like my friends and stuff," Leonard said. "We start walking out and my sister sends me the overhead and I'm looking like 'is that a van or an SUV?' She sends me a close up; 'yea that's my SUV."

Once she realized that her vehicle was burning, Leonard said she panicked.

"By then I was kind of like in a panic attack because, can't afford to buy something else," Leonard said.

She says this is the second time in about eight months that her car has been totaled by no fault of her own.

"To me, it's like this can't happen, you cant have two vehicles totaled sitting in a parking lot in a eight-month time period. That's ridiculous," Leonard said. "What am I going to do because I cant go out and buy another vehicle. The value that they are going to give me is like nothing compared to the value it was to me."

Leonard says the crew at Carowinds were exceptional in their service and concern after the fire.

"Carowinds was great, I mean it wasn't their fault, no fault of theirs. They were bringing out water. They were talking to us, seeing if there was anything we needed," Leonard said.

"When I told them that my granddaughter's unicorn melted and she was devastated, they were like 'we'll get her a new unicorn, is there something we can give her to replace it.' They were really great and I know it's not their responsibility."

Officials say they worked with affected guests to help them arrange for towing services, rental cars and child seats to get their families home.

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