The blaze started just before 5 a.m. at the Fawn Electronics facility, located off
N.C. Highway 97
, west of Rocky Mount. The fire started in the warehouse, and 75 firefighters from eight different volunteer fire departments battled the flames for hours to save the surrounding structures.
"Emotional, that's the main part of it," said Fawn employee William Holland. "Everybody out of work, that's tough."
Fawn Electronics assembles electronic applications for businesses. The plant employed 80 people. Many of them showed up for work in time to see their livelihood go up in smoke.
"There has been so many tears shed," said Fawn employee Sylvia Bailey. "I'm sure they will be many more that are shed. It's just been a different and horrifying experience."
The Fawn Electronics management was quick to respond to the crisis.
"We've actually gotten in touch with most of our employees," said Fawn President Art Rutledge. "We told them there has been a fire. And this is payday and we've been able to get everybody's paycheck to them."
Quick thinking in the front office rescued the payroll checks before the building was closed. Rutledge said the company is already working on a plans to make sure the loss of jobs isn't long-term.
"We are going to have an interruption. We are going to make it as short as we can and we are going to be back running soon," he said.
Investigators say the fire started in the rear of the warehouse. The warehouse was full of all types of electronic components. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, but the building was insured.