Fire chief rescues man, daughter after SUV slams through building

CONOVER, N.C. — Police said a man had to be rushed to the hospital after crashing his SUV through a brick building in Conover early Wednesday morning.

Authorities believe it was a medical condition that sent the SUV off the road and into the Farm Bureau office around 8 a.m. on Conover Boulevard East, near First Street East.

Conover Fire Chief Mark Hinson, who didn't have his fire gear because he was heading to work at the time, saw the crash and rushed into the building, which was already filling with smoke.

"We know he saw the smoke and entered into the building, and tried to save them,” Conover city manager Donald Duncan said. “He had no protective equipment on at the time because he was in his work vehicle."

Eyewitnesses said the driver had a seizure and still had his foot on the gas and the SUV was running despite the crash.

Hinson made sure the driver’s 10-year-old daughter was safely out of the building and went back inside to turn off the engine to prevent the entire building from catching fire.

The SUV was completely inside the building when Channel 9 arrived.

There was one worker in the building at the time but they were not injured.

"It just shook the building like a big boom of thunder,” David Hollar with Farm Bureau said. “I knew it wasn't normal."

The driver was taken to the hospital but his condition was not released. Because the building was filled with so much smoke, Hinson had to be rushed to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

Hinson was released around noon and could be back to work Thursday. There was no word on the condition of the driver of the SUV.

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