CHADBOURN, NC (WECT) - Nearly 40 fire departments joined efforts in containing the blaze which began early Tuesday morning on the corner of Wilkes and Chappin Streets.
Nearly 17 hours later, firefighters were still on the scene, battling the flames consuming the store.
"It's the biggest fire I have seen in my life," said Emergency Service Director David Ward.
Residents on Chappin Street stood by, watching as their neighborhood was overtaken by fire trucks, flames, and smoke.
"We've had every department from the county respond," said Jeremey Jernigan. "We've had departments from Bladen County and Robeson County respond. We've probably flowed tens of thousands of gallons of water. At this point in time I can't give you a good number on that, so it's been an all out effort."
Chadbourn Middle and High Schools were both on a two-hour delay because of the fire. Authorities were concerned with the air quality in the area, but the NC Division of Air Quality reported no significant signs of toxins.
Residents who felt the smoke was too much to handle could evacuate to a shelter that was set up down the road.
Investigators have determined the fire was arson, and no injuries have been reported.