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Investigators Look For Cause In Durham Plant Fire

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DURHAM, N.C. — No one was injured in a fire at a document-shredding plant in Durham.

Crews responded to the fire at Shred-All, located on Muldee Street off Highway 70 around noon Thursday. Investigators have not been able to enter the building yet, but they believe the fire started in the bathroom area.

Officials said an employee in the building noticed smoke coming from the ceiling and called her supervisor. She later noticed fire coming from the tiles on the ceiling.

The roof of the building later collapsed as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.

"It was deemed that it was unsafe for firefighters, so it changed from an offensive attack to a defensive attack, which is completely exterior," said Scott Roberts, of the Durham Fire Department.

Everyone working in the building was able to safely evacuate the plant without any injuries.

The blaze also started a brush fire in a wooded area near the plant, but no homes or businesses were affected.

Diane Gentry, who owns the document-shredding facility, said they will have to operate out of mobile trucks.

Officials said Shred All moved into that location on Labor Day in 2003. The Shred-All business shared its building with a computer recycling business.

Dale Files, chief executive officer of East Coast Metal Distributors, which used to lease the building, said the roof had to be repaired several times. Officials said the 19-year-old building was insured, but it did not have a sprinkler system.

Officials said all of Crabtree Valley Mall's Christmas decorations were also stored in the building. They were purchased for the Christmas 2002 season and had only been used twice.


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