If you were planning to have your lunch in Subway, Rolling Stone or The Mad Batter today, you will have to change your plans. The food establishments will be closed. Unofficial sources said that a fire started around 8:30a.m.from either Subway or Rolling Stone and soon after both of the restaurants were covered in thick smoke.
“I called the Facility Management around 8:45 a.m. because it started smelling like ballast could blow. Definitely smelled like an electrical,” said Jeannette Evans, owner of Mad Batter, a historic establishment for the past 15 years. At 10:15 a.m. the fire was still going strong and more fire trucks arrived at the scene.
Suzan Stone, owner of Rolling Stone, said that they were not opened when the fire started but was called in by Evans. Rolling Stone Burrito has been in the business for the past 5 years.
According to a source from the WCU Safety and Risk Management Office the fire seems to be a “structural fire” and that all of the restaurants on Centennial Drive will be closed for a period of time.
The buildings are property of the University.
UPDATE: 11:38 am Fire Departments from Franklin, Asheville, Cherokee, Cashiers and Junaluska. The fire is under control, but not out.
UPDATE: 2:42p.m. WCU Emergency Services have said the fire is out and that an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway. There are no injuries reported. Students are still advised to avoid the strip mall, and Centennial Drive will remain closed for the time being.
UPDATE 11/25: Chancellor David Belchor, who was not on campus at the time of the fire, spoke about it in an e-mail. Thanking the community and the emergency services for their hard work and concern, Belcher wrote :
While we have much for which to be thankful, let us also, though, keep our friends from Mad Batter, Rolling Stone Burrito, and Subway in our thoughts. They are suffering tremendously.
The way forward is uncertain. We will be working to facilitate the fire investigation, and we will be pursuing insurance claims. We will keep you apprised of the situation as it unfolds.”
We will continue to update you with the information as they come.
Here is a slideshow from this mornings events, be sure to check back for updates: