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UPDATE Asheville, North Carolina Fire Captain Jeffrey Bowen dead. Seven other firefighters injured at medical office building near Mission Hospital. Watch afternoon press conference.

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Asheville Fire Department Captain Jeffrey Bowen died this afternoon at a four-alarm fire at a medical office building. Details of the 1:00 PM fire were released at a press conference shortly after 5:00 PM.

Officials report that Captain Bowen was able to voice a mayday before he was found. Bowen, 37, was the father of three children.

Firefighter Jay Bettencourt, who was working with Bowen, has been taken to a burn center in Augusta, Georgia. Six other firefighters were treated for heat related issues at nearby Mission Hill Hospital.

The last time an Asheville firefighter died due to a fire was in 1982.

Below is the raw video from the press conference by Chief Scott Burnette:


"This is a terrible tragedy for out city, for all of us in the Asheville Fire Department and most importantly his wife Stacey. We pray for her," Chief Scott Burnette said.

Bowen was a 13-year veteran of the department and assigned to Rescue Company 3.

"We will be doing a full analysis to find out what occured in this situation," Burnette said. 


One Asheville firefighter has died after a fire in a medical building near Mission Hospital.  Eight other firefighters were taken to the hospital, many suffering from heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to the building at 445 Biltmore Avenue just after noon, Thursday.  Flames could be seen shooting from windows on the fifth floor of the building, which houses private medical practices and clinics.  Dozens of employees, patients, and visitors were evacuated.

From the AP:

Officials 3say several firefighters have been treated at Asheville's Mission Hospital emergency room following a fire at a nearby office building.

One firefighter died in the fire and eight others have been hurt, according WGHP-TV in Greensboro.

Mission Hospital spokeswoman Merrell Gregory says nine people were seen Thursday afternoon in connection with the blaze.

Gregory says she can't say whether the nine were still being treated, the extent of their injuries or what caused them. Calls placed to the Ashville Fire Department and city officials were not immediately returned.

Gregory says the fire occurred in a building called 445 Biltmore. The hospital has activated a command center and a triage unit to deal with the incident.

Image from WLOS-TV.

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