DUDLEY, N.C. (WNCN) — Crews responded to a large fire early Saturday morning in Dudley after a passerby saw a facility on fire, according to Wayne County officials.
At about 1:27 a.m., county officials said 911 received a call about a huge fire at National Salvage and Service Corp on the 400 block of Old Mt Olive Highway, a large industrial facility that houses railroad ties.
They said someone in the area saw the fire and told dispatch the flames were three stories high.
“A passerby on Old Mount Olive Highway saw flames about three stories high,” said Wayne County Public Information Officer Joel Gillie.
As of 6:25 a.m., county officials said more than 100 personnel from 17 fire departments remained at the scene, including Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro Fire Department and numerous volunteer departments.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne County EMS, NC State Highway Patrol, NC Department of Transportation and Red Cross are also at the scene, according to the county.
County officials said Duke Energy and Tri-County Electric also responded to shut off power to the facility, and all surrounding water districts were notified because of the increased water need for firefighting.
Notice was provided to CSX to re-route trains during the response, according to county officials.
By Saturday afternoon, the fire dominated the landscape and smoke could be seen more than 25 miles away.
“It’s very scary,” said area resident Tracy Robinson. “The wind is defiantly pushing it. It’s very scary.”
More than 100 first responders from all over the area helped fight the blaze at the National Salvage and Service Corp. facility off Old Mount Olive Highway in Dudley.
“It’s a big facility with railroad ties that are on fire,” said Gillie.
Officials asked nearby residents to seek alternate routes.
At 12 p.m., the fire was still going. CBS 17 crews at the scene said the smoke could be seen from 13 miles away.
By 12:30 p.m., officials with Wayne County said first responders remained at the scene.
The community made sure the scores of first responders had plenty to eat and drink as they brought items at the command post near the fire scene.
Robinson and Lauryn Merritt brought food to firefighters at the scene.
“We’ve got to look after the people who look after us,” said Merritt.
Because of the nature of the fuel load, officials said operations were in a defensive status and firefighters are working to protect exposures and surrounding property.
Because of the nature of the fuel load, they said operations were in a defensive status and firefighters are working to protect exposures and surrounding property.
“We’re just containing the flames,” said Gilles. “We’re trying not to make them spread to any other facilities.”
The smoke is being monitored by the state’s division of air quality, but has not issued any warnings because the smoke is not at ground level.
“I could smell it earlier, but I can’t smell it now,” said Robinson. “Hopefully it’s getting out of the way.”
At 11 p.m. Saturday, Wayne County officials said fire personnel remained at the scene and have contained the fire to the original site.
They said fire crews worked through the night to keep the fire contained and monitor spots on the site that were still burning.
Rain was expected overnight, which fire crews said likely assisted their efforts.
They also received assistance from out-of-county agencies to relieve the local fire departments overnight, according to county officials.
Old Mount Olive Highway and a portion of Genoa Road between US-117 and Old Mount Olive Highway remained closed, and motorists were urged to plan accordingly, county officials said.
Wayne County’s 8 a.m. update Sunday morning said Genoa Road had reopened overnight and Old Mount Olive Highway remained closed around the incident site.
County officials said they do not have an estimated time for when the road will reopen.
The update said fire personnel remained at the scene and made progress overnight in extinguishing the fire, especially with help from the rain throughout the evening and the morning.
The out-of-county personnel was released Sunday morning, and a representative for the county thanked them for their assistance.
He said the American Red Cross remained at the scene Sunday morning to coordinate donations from the public and take care of rescue teams.
“We want to thank the many individuals and organizations who have brought supplies for our first responders who have been on the scene since early this morning,” he said. “Many of today’s responders are volunteers, and the outpouring of support for those responding has been incredible.”
The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation. No injuries were reported and no evacuations took place, county officials said.