Fire at historic Princeton building brought under control; power outages linger during coldest night of season

Johnston County News

PRINCETON, N.C. (WNCN) – Crews battled a large fire in downtown Princeton Wednesday night, according to police chief Tyrone Sutton.

The fire was at the historic Gurley Mill building located at 120 South Pine St., the town said. It was brought under control by 9 p.m., but there were several hot spots that will need to be watched overnight.

No injuries were reported.

A person who lives nearby said he heard a transformer blow and saw the flames. He said the heat from the blaze singed the siding on his house and some of his roof, along with roofs on his neighbors’ homes.

“My roof caught on fire and the tiles on there it melted and if you look at this house the tiles on there had melted,” Valentino Whitley said.

Whitley also said at one point the building was corn mill, but now he noticed it was a place where materials were stored.

“It was a little sad. It was a little sad to see it go. But it was just a matter of time I think really, but I didn’t think it would go like this,” Whitley said.

There were initially about 1,800 Duke Energy customers without power, which represented most of the Town of Princeton. As of 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, 655 were still without power. According to the town, the outages may have been caused by three transformers affected by the fire.

Those lingering power outages are expected to last into Thursday as central North Carolina experiences its coldest temperatures of the season. Anyone who is in need of shelter can go to Princeton Church of God, located at 6085 U.S. 70, the town said on Facebook.

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