Owner, workers devastated in Dunn after massive fire at NC’s largest cricket farm

Local News

DUNN, N.C. (WNCN) — An investigation is underway after a massive fire broke out at a unique farm in Dunn Tuesday.

The fire happened at Warrens Cricket Farm, which provides crickets to the bait industry and for fishing.

Crews battled the fire for several hours, focusing on the attic. One building on the farm, which is the largest cricket farm in the state, was destroyed.

Felix Butler Jr. has worked at the farm for 30 years and considers everyone family.

“It’s the state’s largest cricket farm. I helped build everything up. The building that went down I helped build it and to see it go down like that is heart wrenching,” said Butler.

Butler says he and others pulled the farm owner to safety because he didn’t want to leave his farm behind.

“He’s like the captain of the ship. If the ship goes down, the captain is going to go down with the ship,” said Butler

The owner of the farm, Waylon Warren, inherited the farm from his father and struggles to put the loss into words.

“It’s hard to explain. It just tears you up to see all your hard work go up in flames,” said Warren.

The farm has been in business since the 1940s.

An article by the University of Chapel Hill in 2019 said Warrens Cricket Farm is a 33,000-square-foot facility. The farm produces just under 200,000 crickets a day, according to the UNC article.

No one was injured in the fire. Officials say foul play is not suspected.

An investigation is underway.

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