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Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 | 1:59 a.m.
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Posted: 6:58 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
By Linzi Sheldon
CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. —
Frustrations are mounting for the family of a 16-year-old girl burned in an explosion. A report on the blast released by the Cabarrus County fire marshal's office showed a delay. "I just can't understand," Kenneth Bolton Jr. said. "Can't get no answers." Bolton's daughter Kendall is one of three teens burned in the explosion. Wednesday was her second night home from a burn center in Chapel Hill. Her father said while she's exhausted, he is just starting his fight because of the fire marshal's new report. "I'm getting two different stories," he said. The report stated on the night of Jan. 19, a man poured diesel fuel on a barrel fire in Mount Pleasant, causing a sealed aluminum bottle to explode. Bolton said his daughter and her friends say they saw the man pour in fuel that was already igniting, then toss in the bottle and run away. The fire marshal's office started investigating the next day after being notified by deputies. Bolton and the mother of Kendall's boyfriend, Brad, said that doesn't cut it. "I don't call it an investigation," Donalee Parkin said. "I call it a circus. You don't investigate 21 hours later." In a phone interview, Emergency Management Director Bobby Smith, who's over the fire marshal, was asked why the delay. "If someone is transported with burn injuries, the fire department is to notify the fire marshal," Smith said.
"We have already talked to some and we will talk to all of our county fire departments and reiterate to them the policy for notifying our office."
Eyewitness News asked if that could have affected the investigation. "I don't think we'd be at any different conclusion than we are now," he said. The chief of the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, Chris Honeycutt, said his firefighters responded that night but they weren't aware of such protocol. Bolton said he's not satisfied. He wants the man responsible to come forward. "Tell me what you done," he said. "Tell the kids you're sorry for what happened." Officials have not named the man who poured the fuel on the fire and he's not facing any charges. Family and friends are holding a fundraiser for the victims next Friday, Feb. 8, at Mount Pleasant High School from 2 until 6 p.m.
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