MEBANE, N.C. (WNCN) — Officials said 30 workers were inside a warehouse when a possible tornado ripped down an entire wall of the structure Friday afternoon near Mebane.
The tornado was on the ground and damage was reported just afterward in several areas in northern Orange County Friday afternoon. The tornado was on the ground in an area near Mebane around 5 p.m.
The weather service also reported structural damage to homes just after 5:10 p.m. four miles east-southeast of Mebane.
The possible tornado damaged homes and downed trees along East Frazier Road and Mace Road, according to Orange County officials.
A wall of a warehouse was knocked down in the 7000 block of East Washington Street Extension. Officials said about 30 workers were inside the Gildan Distribution Center when the wall was knocked down by high winds, but no one was injured.
Several natural gas lines were also damaged in the East Frazier Road area after the tornado hit, according to a news release from Orange County officials.
“When I first kind of pulled back in here I said ‘holy cow.’ We’ve been in this building for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Rickey Regan, the director of operations for Gildan.
Regan said he does not know just how the extent of the damage and when they might reopen.
“When we will be back in operations, I don’t know, I’ll figure that out this weekend, he said.
It’s not clear if the company will reopen. Public records show the company has been planning to completely shut the warehouse down, laying off 128 people, at the end of June.
Additional damage from severe thunderstorms was reported in Durham and Wake counties and in the city of Fayetteville.
Half-dollar-sized hail and 60 mph wind gusts were reported near Raleigh-Durham International Airport near Cary just before 4 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
The wind gust near RDU Airport caused damage to a small tree in a parking lot.
Officials also reported lightning strikes caused damage and fires to three homes Friday afternoon.
One fire was reported just before 4 p.m. following a lightning strike at a home in southern Durham along Park Glen Place that damaged the rear of the home.
Approximately five minutes later lightning hit an apartment building along Advancement Avenue. The lightning strike caused damage but did not trigger a fire, according to officials.
There was also a house fire along Trotters Ridge Drive in northern Wake County off Six Forks Road just north of Durant Road.