Local News

Fire Sweeps Through Spring Lake Businesses

Posted September 13, 2007 8:26 p.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2007 1:08 p.m. EDT

— Firefighters from 14 departments in Harnett and Cumberland counties and Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base battled a blaze that swept through several businesses in Spring Lake on Thursday night.

The fire began at around 7 p.m. at Spring Lake Carpet and Interiors, officials said. It then spread to other businesses in the Wellons Plaza commercial strip center and to a former car dealership being used for storage, witnesses said. Flames were visible above nearby trees as the blaze widened.

At least two 500-gallon propane tanks inside the businesses exploded during the fire, Capt. Andy Thomas of the Spring Lake Fire Department said.

"There was a big boom. You could feel it from inside my room," witness Chad Roberts said.

A firewall in the strip center stopped the blaze from going further, Thomas said. An employee at the carpet store said nearly $100,000 worth of carpets were destroyed in the fire.

Nearby wooded areas also caught fire. Several businesses nearby were unaffected by the flames, but closed early because of heavy smoke.

Firefighters attacked the flames from the ground and from ladders in the air. One of them was taken to the hospital suffering from heat-related injuries.

Crews had to shut down Bragg Boulevard to bring in more equipment to fight the fire, but it reopened early Friday morning.

Officials from the State Bureau of Investigation and the Cumberland County Arson Task Force are investigating the blaze. Authorities said foul play is not expected.