Fire destroys a Bladen County peanut plant

Source: Billy Marsh
Source: Billy Marsh
Source: Billy Marsh
Source: Billy Marsh

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Peter Smelser - email
Updated by Debra Worley - email

CLARKTON, NC (WECT)  - A massive fire in Bladen County had crews battling flames throughout the night Thursday.

Bladen County Fire Marshall Mitchell Byrd said the blaze sparked in two warehouses at the E.J. Cox Peanut Processing Plant in Clarkton on Highway 701.  Millions of pounds of peanuts were stored in the warehouses.

More than 100 firefighters were on the scene trying to protect the nearby processing center from damage.

"We had to put a curtain up to protect it," said Bladen County Fire Marshal Mithcell Byrd. "We were real concerned we were going to have fire in the processing plant. We had emeralds falling outside the area. Landing on the building, the grass, wooden area, outside fire area."

Company officials said the nearly 55 people who work for the plant will not lose their job because of the fire.

Firefighters are still investigation the cause of the blaze, but a severe thunderstorm rolled through that area of Bladen County about 45 minutes before the fire broke out. Byrd says lightning is a possible cause.

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