Local News

Cause unclear in fire that claimed poultry plant

Posted April 2, 2010 12:36 a.m. EDT
Updated April 2, 2010 4:33 p.m. EDT

— Authorities are investigating a fire that broke out at a poultry plant in Maxton late Thursday.

More than a 100 firefighters from more than a dozen fire departments responded to the fire at 21501 Charles Craft Lane, which was reported by one of the about 16 workers inside the plant around 11:15 p.m. Thursday.

"It was fully involved on arrival," Laurinburg Fire Department Lt. Randy Gibson said.

The Fayetteville Regional Hazardous Materials team was called in to handle an ammonia leak in the back of the building, Gibson said.

The fire raged for several hours before being extinguished Friday morning.

No injuries were reported.

"Sadly enough, from what we can see right now, there is a lot of structural damage and loss," Gibson said. "It's gonna be a devastating blow for the House of Raeford."

The 61,000 square-foot building houses the Mechanically Separated Chicken Division of House of Raeford.

The 60 employees who work there will continue to receive normal pay while the plant is shut down, according to a statement released by the company Friday afternoon.

"It's kind of hard, hard to see it go like that," said employee Tony Dudley. He was one of those on duty when the fire struck.

"Hopefully, we can rebuild and keep going."

The cause of the fire is unknown. The State Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officers were expected to arrive at the scene Friday afternoon.

The House of Raeford manufactures turkey and chicken products. The facility in Maxton is one of four in North Carolina. Plants are also located in South Carolina and Louisiana.