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Bar employees rescue man from early-morning fire


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A fire broke out around 1:30 this morning in an apartment above a Downtown Wilmington bar.

When two bar employees heard the alarm, instead of running away, they ran to help.

Firebelly Lounge employee Shawn Whitley says when he saw the smoke all he thought about was helping his friend inside.

"We walked around the building and we got to the back. We looked up at the balcony and we saw the flames and we saw the smoke coming out of the door. Cleaning the kitchen up, getting ready to close, when the fire alarm went off. And at first we thought it was us," said Whitley.

The smoke turned out to be coming from the apartment above the bar.

Whitley says he had seen the man who lives there earlier that night and knew he was home.

Instead of running away, he and coworker Chris Morgan ran to help.

"Chris kicked down his door, went in and grabbed him, and pulled him out," said Whitley.

Many now consider the two men heroes, but Whitley says when they knew their friend was in trouble, they did not think twice.

"Trying to get him out, really, was all that we were really concerned about," said Whitley.

Crews determined the fire was likely caused by food left unattended on the stove.

The damage is estimated to be about $5,000.

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