The first blast around 10:40 PM Sunday, February 28, 2016 rattled my windows and doors. My first thought was a car crash on E. Stagecoach Trail. I suppose I thought that because of the crash the day before in front of the Dance Studio that knocked down a power pole.
I walked outside and looked around. No crash near my house. Then I noticed a fire further East on East Stagecoach Trail that appeared near the newly opened crematorium at the Stamey-Tysinger Funeral Home. I jumped in my jeep and was on the scene in about 30 seconds. There was a large fire at the residence, or where the residence used to be as it is presently blown to bits, at the corner of East Stagecoach Trail and Stamey Road. Traffic stopped and from the sound of sirens I knew emergency vehicles were on the way. I quickly turned around and got my jeep out of the way.
Back at my house I could see the fire was enlarging and began to video the fire on a cell phone. As the fire got larger, a second explosion and a large fireball as tall or taller as the big trees was caught on the video.
Emergency vehicles kept the night full of sirens, honking horns and flashing lights. I witnessed many fire trucks and flashing lights of volunteer firemen from all around. Sheriff’s Department vehicles and the State Highway Patrol. I counted three EMS Ambulances come to the scene. I also counted two ambulances leave the scene with lights flashing and sirens blasting. Sadly, I concluded, there must be injuries.
Then others came on the scene to find out what happened. Some saw me outside and came by to speak. Some were from four miles away, who heard the first explosion, went outside and heard and viewed the second explosion and fireball from those many miles away. Others came by on foot to see what was happening.
As of this very moment I am staying away from the scene as I can offer no help or have no equipment that the fire department does not already have on the scene. I will let you know more as information becomes available. Please Pray for the firemen, rescue workers, injured persons, etc.
Note that the video is on a new cell phone that I recently purchased and I don’t know yet how to retrieve or send the video. Maybe that will come later.
12:30 AM Feb 29, 2016–Update on Explosions, fire and injuries in Fallston
A man driving his pickup traveling East on East Stagecoach Trail in Fallston missed the curve at the intersection of Stamey Road and East Stagecoach Trail, ran through a fence and struck a propane tank at the residence at that location. The collision did not immediately cause an explosion and the man escaped from his truck. Neighbor Chris Weaver, son of Fallston Mayor Doris Weaver, ran over banging on the door of the burning propane tank and adjacent residence advising J.B. and Naomi Newton to get out of the house NOW. But soon thereafter the leaking and burning propane caused the tank to explode with great force that was said to be heard from eight miles away. J.B. and Naomi Newton, were rescued but were badly burned and airlifted to Charlotte. The truck driver was also rescued and taken to receive medical attention. The second explosion was attributed to the gas tank on the truck exploding. This resulted in a fireball that was seen for many miles.
The two explosion resulted in the residence being blown to smithereens. Flaming debris was hurled five hundred away. Debris was blown up into and lodged in nearby trees and into the yard of Fallston’s Mayor. The propane tank was not found anywhere close. Perhaps it was blown clear across Buffalo Creek.
Fallston Mayor, Doris Dameron Weaver. reported that she has notified various authorities many times about the danger of this curve that has been the scene of may traffic accidents recently as well as in the past. As a young boy living on nearby Beam Street, I can recall an accident sixty years ago at this curve. I can also recall a fatal accident happening there in the more recent times when a young black man with a bright future was killed there. The pleas from the young man’s mother as well as from the Mayor of Fallston have all fell on deaf ears with the powers to be in Cleveland County and North Carolina.
Us “bumpkins” in Upper Cleveland County don’t have much influence with our local governments in getting problems fixed. The usual remedy for that is at the ballot box where you vote the good ole boy crowd out of office. I guess we are indeed bumpkins who have NOT figured that out yet. We keep on electing the same ones back into office. As seen from the 2015 School Board election where 50,000 voters stayed home on Election day, us Upper Cleveland County Bumpkins have plenty of company. If we were smart, we would single-shot Doug Bridges for Commissioner in the Republican Primary on March 15th to remind Commissioners we might be dumb but we ain’t stupid.
Back to the explosions and fire in Fallston, Please Pray for the Firemen, Rescue workers, Red Cross, Law Enforcement and victims. Especially Naomi Newton who is fighting for her life with major burns as well as the Volunteer Firemen who will remain on the scene overnight.