Damage heavy in Winterville farm fire
The Daily Reflector
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Explosions rocked a farm storage space in Winterville on Sunday night, and firefighters had to set up dump tanks to combat flames and heavy smoke as they worked to contain the damage.
Crews were dispatched about 10:14 p.m. on Sunday to a structure fire at 3223 Speight Seed Farm Road. Upon arrival they found that two large buildings and two tobacco farms were involved in the fire, according to Red Oak Community Rural Fire Department Deputy Chief Chad Singleton.
Singleton said crews were met with an extremely large fire at a structure where hay bales, three full-sized tractors and other equipment were stored.
“While we were en route, we could see visible flames and heavy smoke from several miles away from the actual call,” Singleton said. Singleton said fires involving hay bales can be some of the most difficult to extinguish.
While the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, Singleton said that if hay bales get wet and there is dry weather, a breakdown can occur and cause combustion.
Since the incident occurred in a remote location where there is a lack of hydrants, crews had to set up dump tanks, Singleton said.
Ayden, Bell Arthur, Farmville, Falkland, Sharp Point and Winterville volunteer departments and the Town of Winterville Fire Department assisted in the effort. Singleton said Eastern Pines, Bell Arthur and Falkland departments assisted with covering the service areas of the crews that responded to avoid a gap in coverage and resources. State Highway Patrol and Pitt County Sheriff’s Office provided traffic control.
As crews fought the blaze, there were some explosions, which Singleton said he believes might have been related to diesel fuels and tractor tires.
Singleton said a responder from the Town of Winterville Fire Department sustained an ankle injury while getting in a truck to respond to the fire but still drove to the scene. He later was transported to be treated for injuries and was in good condition.
Another responder suffered a back injury while pulling a large hose that Singleton said was necessary to use to combat the unusual incident.
Responders managed to save three tobacco barns by containing the fire, he said. The blaze damaged two large buildings, a tobacco barn, farm equipment and partially burned another barn. Firefighters cleared the scene about 2:50 a.m. Monday.
Singleton estimated property damage to be about $600,000.
Contact Sharieka Breeden at 252-329-9567 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShariekaB.