South Carolina

Seriously burned teen dies months after family’s restaurant explodes, SC coroner says

A 16-year-old boy died months after a South Carolina blast left him with serious burns, officials say.

Cole Harris was inside his family’s Old English restaurant when the building exploded and caught fire on July 13, the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported Saturday.

His dad, who had been mowing grass outside, rushed to pull the teenager out of the Union County structure, according to The Union Times.

The teen had “burns to 92 percent of his body” and was taken to a burn center, where he died on Saturday, the Union County coroner’s office said in a statement to the Herald-Journal and other news outlets.

Union County High School officials were “deeply saddened” about Harris’ death and planned to have counselors available Monday, according to a Facebook post.

Officials suspect a gas leak caused the explosion, according to the Herald-Journal.

Firefighters responding to the blast found the restaurant “fully engulfed” and spent more than 8 hours putting out the flames, The Union Times reports. The building was left with a “blown-out” wall and a caved-in roof, according to the newspaper.

It happened in Carlisle, a town roughly 55 miles northwest of Columbia, WSPA reports.

Agencies investigating the incident include the “Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Carlisle Volunteer Fire Department” and the “Santuc Volunteer Fire Department,” according to the station.

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