Chicken plant nearly destroyed in fire

April 2, 2010 10:32:17 AM PDT
The House of Raeford chicken processing plant, which is located about 40 miles south of Fayetteville, caught fire just after 11 p.m. Thursday.

According to the company's website, the plant is one of four in the state and the Maxton facility is the Mechanically Separated Chicken (MSC) Division.

Firefighters were busy overnight trying to extinguish the fire. One-hundred firefighters from 12 departments were called to the scene. A hazmat crew also was dispatched because of the threat of an ammonia leak, which turned out not to be a problem.

Investigators say a warehouse on the property is completely gutted and crews continued putting out hot spots Friday morning. No live chickens are kept at the plant, only chicken parts that are used for making poultry products like chicken patties and chicken hot dogs.

About 15 workers were there when the fire began, but they all got out of the building safely. Officials say the fire is a huge loss for House of Raeford, one of the nation's largest chicken processing companies and its employees.

It's going to be a devastating blow to the community -- the amount of damage at this facility tonight with folks losing jobs," said Lt. Randy Gibson, Laurinburg Fire Department. "It's a devastating blow."

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire.

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