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November 5, 2010

Nelons Escape Concert Fire in Ohio

Opening act Beyond the Ashes helps gospel group escape flames at theatre


The Nelons, a gospel group, were performing a concert at the history Majestic Theatre in Chillicothe, Ohio, Thursday night when a fire broke out. Members of Beyond the Ashes, the opening act, took quick action and helped the headliners to get out of the building safely.

Several members of both groups were treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation, and later released. The Nelons have been cleared by a doctor to perform at a concert in Dayton tonight.

A curtain behind the stage had caught fire as Beyond the Ashes left the stage and the Nelons were about to begin their set when the fire alarm sounded. Aaron Crisler, spokesman for the Nelons, says Kelly Nelon Clark, her husband Jason Clark and daughter Amber Nelon Thompson credited members of Beyond the Ashes for helping them to escape.

The fire was put out within an hour, and there were no major injuries or fatalities. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The event stirred memories of a horrible concert fire in Rhode Island in 2003 that killed 100 people.

Anthony Facello, a member of Beyond the Ashes (pictured at left), said that "watching a 30-foot wall of fire engulf the stage area as our friends, the Nelons, sang was a scary experience. We didn't really think about doing anything but getting them and others to safety. I know it was God's hand that carried all of out of that fire. We are so grateful."

The Majestic Theater, which opened in the 1850s, has hosted many legendary entertainers, including Laurel and Hardy, Milton Berle and Sophie Tucker.