CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeremy Stalling, who lives near the Mr. C’s Original Family Restaurant in northwest Charlotte, said he rushed inside the burning restaurant to save a woman's life.
"Few people were hollering that a lady was still inside the building,” Stalling said. “I went in the building about 50 feet. I found her, pulled her out and about that time, that's when police started rolling up."
Firefighters reported heavy fire coming from the roof when they arrived on the scene just after 7 p.m. Thursday.
Fire officials said the restaurant fire on Brookshire Boulevard caused a partial roof collapse, forcing firefighters to evacuate the building and extinguish the fire from the outside.
Officials said 23 firefighters put the fire out in 90 minutes.
Fire officials said the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction. They estimated there was $300,000 in damage.
Three people complained of smoke inhalation, and one was taken to a hospital.
Stalling told Channel 9 the conditions were so bad that it was hard to see anything while he attempted his rescue.
He said he reached for the shirt of the woman, who is a restaurant employee.
"The only way I was able to see her is because she had a bright white shirt,” Stalling said. "I was able to grab it and just pull, not knowing what I was grabbing. I knew it was a human, so I just grabbed her and pulled her out.”
Firefighters said there were multiple customers inside Mr. C's when the fire started.
Stalling said he’s thankful he spotted the smoke and was there to help.
"No need for somebody to die, so I went in and (did) what I had to do,” he said.
The 3700 block of outbound Brookshire Boulevard at I-85 was closed due to the fire.
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