Pictures from Chopper 11 HD showed firefighters and workers using construction equipment to pull burning materials from the building in Lenoir County - south of Greenville.
Kinston Assistant Fire Chief Don Crawford said the fire burned in cotton bails that had to be removed so firefighters could get at the source of the flames in a warehouse building. Workers also tore the metal siding off the building to get at the bails.
Authorities said three firefighters were hurt - one suffering burns - but all the injuries were described as minor.
Kinston.com reported the factory has seen two other fires earlier this year.
Crawford said the first call came in around 6:20 a.m. and every fire department in the county was on the scene with some 75 firefighters.
The assistant fire chief said once the blaze is out, it will be 24 hours before investigators can go in to the plant to investigate the cause of the fire.