Report: Kinston Fibers Plant Condemned

The Kinston cotton processing plant that burned for 30 hours has now been condemned by the city.

The Kinston Free Press reports Kinston Fibers plant manager Tony Renfroe says the company is still undecided on what to do with the building, but believes it will have to come down.

Earlier this week, Renfroe told WITN that a structural engineer would go through the facility to determine what should be done.

The massive fire that took place earlier this month is believed to have been an accident. The company says damage to the building is estimated at $2,000,000.

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Kinston police say that fire at a cotton processing plant is believed to have been an accident.

A fire alarm early Wednesday morning alerted firefighters to the Kinston Fibers plant on Neuse Road. At the height of the fire, some 75-80 firefighters battled the blaze.

A joint investigation between Kinston, the SBI and ATF agents was completed Thursday evening. They say the fire began near the center of the rear storage section of the plant, and the exact cause hasn't been determined. But officials say there are no indication that the fire was intentionally set.

A news release says the failure of a light fixture above the stacks of stored cotton bales can not be ruled out as the cause. They say debris that could be evidence of the light's failure was found within the cotton in the area where the fire started.

The company says damage to the building is estimated at $2,000,000.

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Kinston says that giant fire at a cotton processing plant is now 100% contained.

The fire at Kinston Fibers on Neuse Road was discovered at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday morning. At the height some 75-80 firefighters battled the blaze which heavily damaged the 109,000 square foot building.

The fire department says the 1,000 pound bales are being brought outside with backhoes and front end loaders where they can be more easily extinguished. Contractors who are removing the bales say that should be completed by the end of today.

Investigators from Kinston Public Safety, the SBI and ATF have now been able to enter portions of the building to begin their investigation into the cause.

Three firefighters were injured Wednesday in the fire and they have been released from the hospital.

Kinston Fibers processes leftover material from cotton gins and sells that to others who make cotton for medical needs.

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Kinston fire crews remain at Kinston Fibers Thursday morning as cotton bales continue to burn, a full 24 hours after the fire first began.

Kinston fire officials say four crews are on the scene to help contain and monitor the fire.

The fire was discovered about 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. It's not clear what sparked the blaze, but federal officials will be part of the investigation.

The building has been condemned, and Kinston officials will hold a hearing next week to decide if the plant should be torn down.

Kinston Assistant Fire Chief Don Crawford told WITN News Wednesday it could take 12-15 hours to contain the fire at Kinston Fibers.

The fire was discovered about 6:20 a.m. and firefighters were still working to contain the fire as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday- more than 15 hours later.

A fire at a Kinston textile plant is now 50% contained.

The blaze at Kinston Fibers on Neuse Road was discovered around 6:20 a.m. when an alarm sounded.

The blaze has caused extensive damage to the plant. By mid-afternoon inspectors had placed a condemned sign on the plant's front door, meaning it has been deemed dangerous. City officials say a hearing will take place in 10 days to decide whether the plant is to be torn down.

An estimated 75 firefighters from Kinston and surrounding areas have been battling the massive fire. Assistant Fire Chief Don Crawford says three firefighters received minor injuries and were taken to Lenoir Memorial Hospital.

Fire crews now say they are concerned about the structural integrity of the huge building. They say the middle of the roof is starting to sag, and will have to evaluate the structure before sending any crews back inside.

Crews brought in backhoes to help knock walls down so firefighters can get access to the fire. Crawford says 1,000 pound cotton bales are burning inside the building.

Three firefighters have been injured battling the blaze. Crawford says all were minor injuries and as a precaution they sent them to the hospital.

The assistant fire chief says once the fire is out it will be some 24 hours before they can go inside the building to investigate how the blaze began. Agents from the State Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives have arrived to assist with the probe.

The same plant had a fire back in May which caused some $4,000 in damage, while another in February.

Kinston Fibers is a 109,950 square foot facility. The main building was constructed in 1965 and the warehouse added in 1999.

WITN has multiple crews on scene and will have live reports throughout the morning.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 18, 2011 at 05:20 AM
    You're kidding. I figured they were just going to make it into a playpen for children. Masterful executive decision city of Kinston officials!
  • by just saying Location: grifton on Nov 4, 2011 at 09:31 AM
    Know the manager, a good man. So very glad to hear nobody was hurt. Also keeping in my prayers the firefighters who were taken to the hospital. A terrible accident...
  • by I wonder on Nov 3, 2011 at 05:54 PM
    Will they ever be able to get the smoke smell out? If not, maybe they can sell the cotton to people that work at the local area BBQ restaurants. They won't be able to tell.
  • by Cotton Gin Girl Location: ENC on Nov 3, 2011 at 10:45 AM
    You can not put out a bale of cotton that is on fire.
  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Nov 3, 2011 at 03:30 AM
    I think I posted "Kerosene had a low flashpoint"....... typing too fast should be a very "high temp" flashpoint.
    • reply
      by Bloke on Nov 3, 2011 at 05:14 AM in reply to Shine
      Are you suggesting they should throw Kerosene on the cotton to extinguish it? I do understand that it burns much like a hay bail would and there is not much you can do except spread it out and let it burn.
  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Nov 3, 2011 at 03:28 AM
    "Workinman"....... A bale of cotton is difficult to extiquish and can be very dangerous - if smoldering compressed cotton is broken apart and O2 is there. It becomes a fire hazard. A cotton seed warehouse or cotton wagon or module (smoldering) can be easily snuffed out w/ kerosene. I know it sounds crazy - but kerosene has a very low flash point and the amount of oil in it will quickly suffocate anything that smolders relentlessly.
    • reply
      by Workinman on Nov 4, 2011 at 05:27 AM in reply to Shine
      Shine, for thirty years we have extinguished modules by spreading and extinguishing with copius amounts of water. Much cheaper than using kerosene.
  • by Google on Nov 2, 2011 at 08:58 PM
    It's owned by Barnhardt Manufacturing company out of Charlotte
  • by Curious Location: Greenville on Nov 2, 2011 at 06:03 PM
    Who owns this company? Any connection to National Spinning?
  • by wenc on Nov 2, 2011 at 05:33 PM
    was this baled cotton or baled motes?
  • by rapper Location: snow hill on Nov 2, 2011 at 03:26 PM
    Insurance ?
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