Fire at WCU damages three businesses; no injuries reported

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a fire that broke out Nov. 21 in the commercial strip in the center of the Western Carolina University campus and caused heavy damage to three popular businesses.

No injuries were reported during the fire. All university functions remained operational throughout the duration of the incident, and the university did not cancel classes. Portions of Centennial and Central drives were closed while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. 

The fire, which resulted in heavy smoke pouring from the affected businesses, was reported shortly after 9 a.m., and was extinguished by approximately 12:30 p.m., emergency officials said. A total of 21 units from WCU, from the counties of Jackson, Haywood, Macon, Swain and Buncombe, and from the Qualla Boundary responded to the blaze, including firefighters, law enforcement and emergency medical care teams.

The fire damaged three dining establishments in the commercial area of Centennial Drive — a Subway sandwich shop, Rolling Stone Burrito and Mad Batter Bakery and Cafe. The businesses are located on the ground floor of the two-story structure. The second story of the building, which had contained apartments until several years ago, was unoccupied.

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