by: Liz Foster Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 confirmed North Carolina’s Occupational Safety and Health Division is now investigating a popular South End restaurant after a fire badly burned an employee.
State investigators said they had no record of the fire on March 11 at Pike's Soda Fountain until Channel 9 reached out to them.
Fire investigators said a natural gas leak led to a flash fire from a kitchen appliance.
A family member of the employee who was burned told Eyewitness News that he had just got out of the hospital after being there more than a week.
"It's unfortunate and I hope the person's OK," said John Clese, who eats at the restaurant multiple times a month.
The owner of Pike's declined an interview, but told Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster he has had no contact with OSHA.
Federal law requires businesses report an employee hospitalized within 24 hours.
The state could not confirm or deny whether the owner reported the fire. The state previously told Channel 9 it had no record of the fire until Foster started asking questions about whether there would be an investigation because of the employee's injuries on the job.
If investigators determine the owner did not report the fire, it could mean a fine of $2,500.
"Hopefully, all parties are taking it seriously, and whatever they find, they move forward adequately," said Carrie Zurenko, who lives near Pike’s.
The state Occupational Safety and Health Division is now investigating the fire, as well as the nature and severity of the hospitalization.
Family members tell us the employee is at home recovering.
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