Rowan County authorities said Tuesday that chemical vapors used for taxidermy led to a fatal explosion and fire at S&S Graham Archery on Friday evening.
Five people were in the building at the time of the fire. Sonya Graham, one of the co-owners of the archery and taxidermy business, was killed.
Authorities said employees had been using acetone when vapors reached the pilot light of a nearby gas water heater, Rowan authorities said Tuesday in a news release. The ignition of the vapors caused the explosion and subsequent fire, authorities said.
A store employee had previously told the Observer that employees were working to mount a boar just before the blast.
Investigators said Sonya Graham was cut off by the fire and unable to exit the building. She sought shelter in an adjacent bathroom, authorities said Tuesday.
The case was investigated by the Rowan Countys Emergency Services and Sheriffs departments.
"The entire public safety community offers its sincere condolences and our thoughts and prayers are with the Graham family during this time of tragic loss, Emergency Services Chief Frank Thomason and Rowan Sheriff Kevin Auten said in a joint statement.