Fire destroys Lumberton fertilizer plant

ROBESON COUNTY The blaze happened on the Southern States property at 745 Old Whiteville Road, just off N.C. 72.

Click here to view images from Chopper11 HD of the fire

Officials were called to the area just after 11:15 a.m.

Authorities said a front building on the property caught fire and was completely destroyed. The cause of the fire has not been released at this time.

No one was working inside the plant at the time of the fire.

Eight to ten fire departments from Robeson and Bladen counties were called to the plant to contain the blaze.

Officials said because of concerns of chemical laced smoke, they decided to let it burn rather than pour water on the flames.

"It was a hot fire, we were unable to get to it to contain it," Lumberton Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Ivey said. "Plus with the chemicals, we wanted to limit the chemicals we put on it. So at one point, we elected to let it burn."

Surrounding roadways in the area had to be blocked off for several hours while crews were at the scene.

Because there was no wind, firefighters did not evacuate neighboring residents.

It is estimated about 14 people are temporally out of a job due to the damage.

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