The moment a North Carolina KFC restaurant exploded early Thursday morning was caught on video, attracting plenty of attention on social media. Witnesses described the explosion as similar to a bomb going off. Thankfully, no one was injured in the blast, which is still under investigation.
The incident happened at about 12:30 a.m. ET in Eden, North Carolina. AIA Sweepestakes, located next to the KFC, suffered exterior wall and window damage. About 10 customers and at least two employees were at the neighboring business, reports WXII 12.
State and federal investigators are already looking into the blast. Eden police are also interviewing witnesses, and authorities put up a fence around the scene to keep it secure during the investigation.
While the cause remains unknown, Eden Police Chief Greg Light suggested gas might have been a factor.
💥💣"Like a bomb going off!" Security cameras caught the reactions of the patrons inside a sweepstakes business when a KFC restaurant exploded in Eden, North Carolina. https://t.co/aJsBAH4s5q pic.twitter.com/Jfo2qdlP5e— WXII 12 News (@WXII) July 12, 2019
"The biggest thing we’re finding now is, in the back of the restaurant, just the gas lines is what we looked at yesterday and what we’re looking at today," Light told WXII. "Gas may have been a contributing factor and I know the word is out there that it probably was but, still, until we find an exact cause, we don’t want to say that."
However, Piedmont Natural Gas tried to put that idea to bed, noting their technicians "thoroughly checked the lines to the KFC and in the surrounding area today and found nothing unusual."
"The natural gas system is operating properly. Piedmont first received notice of the incident directly from the fire department at 12:39 a.m. today," the company said in a statement. "The safety of our customers and communities is our highest priority, and we will continue to work closely with emergency responders to determine what happened."
Jerry Woodall, who owns a nearby golf equipment shop told WXII he was thankful no one was hurt.
"I think it was just the magnitude of it, the power of that blast, the way the oxygen was taken toward the blast," he said. "The power that that made was like a bomb going off, so I’m just very thankful that no one was hurt, really."
Tommy Webber told WXII he heard the explosion from Ridgeway, Virginia, about eight miles from the restaurant.
“I heard what I called a muffled but significant boom,” he said. “It was a significant explosion to suggest it was a bomb-type feeling. I knew it would have had to have been far away."
He doesn't realize he was almost a #1 with 2 sides 😂🤣— LyteYearz (@LyteYearzBeatz) July 12, 2019
KFC issued a statement as well, noting that employees from the restaurant have already been transferred to nearby locations and will continue to be paid.
"The franchisee organization for this restaurant places the safety and care of its employees as its top priority," the company said. "They are actively placing the impacted team members at their choice of six area KFC restaurants to minimize disruption to their work schedules and pay while the Eden location undergoes rebuilding. In addition, the KFC Foundation’s Family Fund will be providing additional assistance to eligible employees to help with transportation and other expenses."
Top suspects have been named:— Wicked Shine (@WickedShineGame) July 12, 2019
1. Ronald McDonald
2. Cows from Chick-fil-A
4. The ghost of Dave Thomas
5. Mayor McCheese
KFC in Eden blew tf up! Praying for the employees who don’t have a job to go to in the morning and thank God no one was hurt from the explosion but also thank God that it wasn’t Bojangles either! 🙏🏽🤣🤷🏽♂️😂 pic.twitter.com/E4gqoxXs3y— Mälíkkkk (@Obeyy_Malik_) July 11, 2019
Natural gas explosion overnight at KFC in nearby Rockingham County. Not occupied at the time. pic.twitter.com/RZCPZlzc1Y— Paul Watlington (@BCWatlington) July 11, 2019
Although this was a serious situation, Twitter users made plenty of jokes about the explosion.
Photo credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images