Dunn, N.C. — The owners of a Triangle-area supermarket chain were hospitalized Monday after a fire destroyed their Harnett County home.
Carlie and Joyce McLamb were being treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Their home, at the corner of Neighbors Road and U.S. Highway 301, north of Dunn, caught fire at about 8 p.m. Sunday.
Harnett County Fire Marshal Jimmy Riddle said Monday that the fire appears to have been accidental, but officials haven't yet determined the cause.
The McLambs own more than a dozen Carlie C's IGA stores, from Fayetteville to Goldsboro.
A fire destroyed their first supermarket in 1984, but the community helped them rebuild since they had no insurance.
The community again rallied around the McLambs Monday as word spread of the house fire and the couple's injuries.
"They're strong. They've been through so much together," said Sharon Stevens, a niece of the McLambs.
Carlie McLamb is on home kidney dialysis, which his wife helped him finish Sunday night, Stevens said. Then, she said, her aunt was in the attic getting some Christmas decorations when the fire started.
Fire investigators said Joyce McLamb ran next door to Carlie C's Operations Center to get help.
"It's not as bad as what it could have been, so we're blessed," Stevens said of the McLamb's injuries. "A lot of our Christmas went up in (the house), but our Christmas gift now will be their survival."
Mack McLamb, the couple's son, issued a statement Monday afternoon thanking friends, employees, customers and business partners for their support.
"We would ask that you continue to keep them in your prayers,” he said in the statement.