Man runs into burning building to make sure everyone was out

Wlos Apartments Catch On Fire
About 10 units from the Asheville Fire Department was dispatched to an apartment complex Friday. When they arrived, flames were shooting from the building.
Credit: WLOS

CNN– Multiple residents are displaced from their homes after a fire at an East Asheville apartment Friday.

Asheville Fire Department was dispatched to the 60 block of Memory Lane at 11:30 Friday morning. When they arrived, flames were shooting from the building.

“Not what I was expecting on my Friday afternoon,” said Matthew Kern, who ran inside the burning building to make sure no one was inside.

Kern was at a friend’s house when he noticed smoke coming from the building across the street.

“We both noticed that smoke was coming out of the bedroom window, and he mentioned someone was burning something. I said, ‘I don’t think they are burning anything.’ And then we saw smoke coming out of the back window,” Kern explained.

Kern sprung into action and ran into the burning building to make sure everyone got out safely.

“There was a guy in there, and he was trying to get out,” Kern said. “I was standing in the apartment. As soon as he handed me the extinguisher, the glass all exploded out of the room and it filled up with even more smoke.”

Ten units from Asheville Fire Department responded to the scene.

“This is a small apartment complex. There were six units to this particular building,” said Kelley Klope, public information officer for Asheville Fire. “One of them was fully involved in fire when we arrived on scene.”

Firefighters were able to stop the fire about 30 minutes after arriving.

“There is definitely heavy damage to one unit, and some and water damage to the other units,” Klope said. “Sadly, there will be 10-11 people displaced.”

One cat was rescued by firefighters. Because of quick action, all residents got out safely. Kern said he doesn’t consider himself a hero and just hopes someone would return the favor if it were him stuck inside.

“I just hope someone might even do it for me sometime. I don’t think it’s heroic. I just did what a human being should do,” Kern said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Asheville Fire officials said it may take some time to figure out what started the fire because of how hot and strong the fire was burning.

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