PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Several fire departments were called early Friday morning to respond to a fire at the Walker Pallet Company, located on New Savannah Road in Pender County.
They worked for hours to get the fire under control and make sure it would not spread. Twelve hours after the first call came in, the fire still had hot spots and smoke was still visible. The Burgaw Fire Department decided to have members stay at the scene all Friday night to monitor the storage yard and make sure the blaze doesn't flare up again.
They were able to contain the fire to the storage yard of the company, preventing it from spreading to the company's building and other nearby homes. Multiple different types of items including plastic, rubber, wood chips, sawdust and pallets were all caught up in the blaze. Fire officials say that made the fire harder to fight. Water Quality teams were at the scene to make sure no harmful elements got into the water system.
The Fire Marshal says the owner of the company, Harold Walker, was cited for fire code violations in the past. He says Walker fixed all of the violations, except for one; a massive pile containing wood chips, rubber, and other debris in the storage yard.
Fire Marshal Charles Newman says according to code, all piles must be under 12 feet high, and materials must be separated with aisles in between them.
"He has brought it down a lot, but there is still a danger out here that we were working to resolve so we wouldn't have something like this," said Newman. He says because of all the debris, he was worried that a fire would start.
"With the condition that it's in as far as the debris and the pile and stuff we always feared there would be a fire," said Newman. "This is one of our nightmares come true. This stuff actually burning."
After crews contained the blaze, they then had to go in and separate burning items from those that weren't burning to keep it from spreading. They built a trench around what was on fire.
There is still no word on how the fire started.