NC Processing Plant Blaze an Accident

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 06:02 PM gHale

A massive fire at House of Raeford plant outside of Teachey, NC, a chicken processing plant ended up labeled an accident.

A massive fire at a Duplin County, NC, chicken processing plant Saturday night ended up labeled an accident, investigators said.

The blaze broke out at the House of Raeford plant outside of Teachey, NC, late Saturday night and 20 fire departments from five counties responded.

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The fire began in an office upstairs where there was plenty of electrical equipment, said Det. Matthew English with the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office.

The NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is assisting with the fire investigation due to the size of the building, while two fire departments remained on the scene Monday making sure no hot spots flared back up.

The plant has 675 workers. The company said workers will continue to receive pay and remain committed to restoring operations.

The House of Raeford said the goal is to rebuild in the Wallace area.

They have already begun to move employees to the Rose Hill plant where they will increase capacity, said company spokesman Dave Witter. The company built the plant in 2006.

Teachey Fire Chief Richard Williams said the fire was the most heavily involved he’s seen in several years. 

“Upon arrival we had heavy smoke showing,” he said. 

Williams said three firefighters ended up taken to the hospital after they became over-heated on the job.

Witter said all three ended up released, and one returned to the scene to help.

A HazMat crew also reported to the scene from New Hanover County as a safety measure. The crew monitored water runoff and air quality as crews fought the blaze.

The Wallace Fire Department also helped monitor the situation from the sky, using drone technology that they’ve had for about a year. 

“They are really good [for] training… you can take some pictures to use later on for other training… [you can use them for] search and rescue and stuff like this big structure fire,” said Wallace Firefighter Chuck Johnson.

Johnson said the drones are able to show firefighters what’s happening from above, from angles they can’t see from the ground or ladders.

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