A fast-food restaurant was “reduced to rubble” after an early-morning explosion in North Carolina, police say.
The blast on Thursday at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on N.C. 14 in Eden jolted residents and shook houses, WXII reports.
“We’ve actually searched the building and no one is inside the building which is great,” Eden Police Chief Greg Light said, according to WGHP.
No one was hurt in the explosion, which crumbled the restaurant and shattered windows at nearby businesses, WFMY reports.
Officials are clearing the area, and police say they don’t know why the restaurant exploded, according to Spectrum News.
An employee and others at the restaurant smelled gas, and “the manager reportedly tried to turn off the nozzle and called the gas company,” WGHP reports.
Christian Jarrett, a KFC employee who wasn’t on duty during the blast, said the “kitchen gas line safety valve was vulnerable and exposed,” RockinghamNow reports.
Eden Mayor Neville Hall says gas company crews will try to find the source of a possible leak, according to WXII.
“We’re just so lucky that this wasn’t 12 hours different,” Hall said, according to WFMY. “[If it happened] at noon, during the day, we’d have had a much worse situation.”
Social media users described feeling the blast, which led to a torrent of 911 calls, several media outlets report.
“The explosion shook my entire home,” Phyllis Michelle Brown said on the Eden Police Department’s Facebook page. “I thought something blew up outside the house.”
Another user, Debbie Dodson, said “Wow! This explains why our whole house shook. We live about 1 mile from this scene. Prayers for all those affected by this tragic event.”
The KFC in Eden had about 20 employees, and the company in a statement said it was working with investigators, according to WXII.
“We are devastated by this incident, but most importantly we are grateful that all of our restaurant team members are safe and no one was injured,” the fast-food chain said, according to WXII.
Eden, in Rockingham County, is about 35 miles north of Greensboro.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.