Officials: No one hurt during WCU Subway blaze - FOX Carolina 21

Officials: No one hurt during WCU Subway blaze

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An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/FOX Carolina iWitness Angela L.) An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/FOX Carolina iWitness Angela L.)
An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/Western Carolina Univ.) An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/Western Carolina Univ.)
An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/FOX Carolina iWitness) An eyewitness photo of the fire. (Nov. 21, 2013/FOX Carolina iWitness)
CULLOWHEE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

University officials said firefighters responded to a large fire on the campus of Western Carolina University.

The school posted an alert online Thursday morning, saying the fire was at the Subway located at the mini-mall at Centennial and Central drives on campus.

Firefighters from neighboring counties including Macon, Swain, Haywood and Cherokee were called to the scene to help battle the blaze as heavy black smoke billowed from the two-story strip mall, according to a fire alert sent to FOX Carolina.

Traffic was diverted in the area. WCU's latest online update was posted at 10:16 a.m. and urged people to stay away from the area, Centennial and Central drives as they work to control the fire.

Just before 11 a.m., university officials said they still needed people to stay away from the area. They said so far, no injuries had been reported.

FOX Carolina iWitness Angela L. said after about an hour, flames started coming through the building and heavy black smoke was starting to spread across campus.

WCU said classes are operating on a normal schedule and all classroom buildings, residence halls and dining facilities are open though students, faculty and staff were advised to use their own discretion in finishing out the day.

Emergency management officials continue to urge the public to avoid the area where the fire occurred.

Officials at the scene said the Subway and shops were in an historic building that was once used by the school and was known as the Townhouse.

Officials said the fire also damaged the Rolling Stone Burrito and Mad Batter Bakery.

The apartments above the shop were unoccupied at the time of the fire, and had been for several years, officials said.

The university said in a press release on Thursday evening that an investigation is underway to find out the cause of the fire. They said no injuries were reported.

"We certainly are grateful that no one was injured during this incident, neither the owners and employees of the businesses nor the firefighters and first responders who rushed to the scene," said WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher. "Our thoughts are with our friends and neighbors who own and work at these establishments."

Emergency workers from Jackson, Haywood, Macon, Swain, Buncombe and the Qualla Boundary responded to fire.

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