PINEVILLE, N.C. - Officials today announced the cause of a fire in strip mall in Pineville that claimed the life of a young volunteer firefighter.
WSOC reports that Pineville volunteer firefighter Richard Sheltra, 20, died as a result of inhaling products of combustion, according to Mecklenburg County Assistant Fire Marshal Mike Petleski, during a press conference this afternoon.
A lightning strike caused a fire in the Edwin Watts golf store at the Countryside Shopping Center on Saturday evening. Sheltra was one of the initial firefighters fighting the fire when he was reportedly found in some type of distress during the fire.
Audio: Fireground Operations and Mayday at Pineville Fire
Firefighters removed Sheltra and turned him over to EMS. He was transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte where he was pronounced dead.
Several fire departments from Mecklenburg, York and Lancaster counties are providing support for the Pineville fire department as they begin to mourn the loss of one of their own.