Fire destroys hemp, kayaks and everything else in Bunn warehouse

January 11, 2019

A fire that destroyed a massive warehouse in Franklin County on Friday is expected to continue burning for a couple of days, authorities said.

The fire started at about 8:30 a.m. at the Montclair Warehouse complex on N.C. Highway 98 East in Bunn. Hemp used for oils and fabrics, farm equipment and outdoor supplies were stored in the facility.

No injuries were reported, although two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

“We could see the smoke probably 5, 10 miles away,” said Megan Greer, manager of Tar River Life, which had kayaks, paddles and other supplies in the warehouse. “It’s a family business. It’s a small business, so anything like this is heartbreaking for the business, but also the owner.”

Before firefighters could arrive, welder and yard manager Jason Dixon tried to help, but he was quickly overwhelmed by the intense heat and flames.

“All I heard was somebody hollering, and I ran inside the building,” Dixon said. “There’s bales of hemp in there, and when I went in there, I saw fire on the hemp. So, I grabbed the fire extinguisher, but before I could get in there to open the fire extinguisher, it was already too hot for me to be in there.”

Firefighters responded from Franklin, Nash and Wake counties to battle the blaze. Some nearby residents reported hearing explosions.

“It’s just a large fire,” Bunn Fire Chief Matthew Strawbridge said. “We’re in a rural setting, so we had to shuttle water in and use water points. It takes a lot of manpower and a lot of trucks to get it accomplished.”

Investigators are still working to figure out what caused the fire.

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