Local News

Poultry plant will pay employees while fire investigation continues

Posted April 2, 2010 4:24 p.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2010 4:33 p.m. EDT

— The 60 employees of a Maxton poultry plant that burned down overnight can count on a regular paycheck, a company spokesman said Friday afternoon.

Workers on the night shift at the Mechanically Separated Chicken Division of House of Raeford, at 21501 Charles Craft Lane, called 911 just before midnight Thursday to report the blaze.

More than 100 firefighters from more than a dozen fire departments and Fayetteville Regional Hazardous Materials team responded. The fire raged for several hours before being extinguished Friday morning.

No one was injured, but the structure was a total loss, said Laurinburg Fire Department Lt. Randy Gibson.

"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."

Company spokesman Dave Whitter said executives are waiting to hear from insurance adjusters before determining what’s next for the plant.

The cause of the fire is unknown. Investigators with the State bureaus of investigation and alcohol, tobacco and firearms were on the scene 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 plant, one of four in North Carolina, manufactures hot dogs, sausage and luncheon meat. The House of Raeford also has plants in South Carolina and Louisiana.