Dozens of firefighters battle huge flames at Burke County industrial plant

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. — Dozens of firefighters braved intense flames as well as cold conditions as they battled a huge fire at an industrial plant in Burke County on Friday morning.

The fire broke out overnight at Parker Industries on Rhoney Road near Old NC 18 in the southern part of the county.

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Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty arrived at the scene around 4:30 a.m. and could see the building engulfed in flames.

Parker Industries is a metal stamping plant which opened in 1959 and employs about 60 workers.

More than half dozen fire departments from Burke, Lincoln and Catawba counties were called to help put out the blaze. At least 50 firefighters were on the scene. It took nearly two hours to bring the fire under control.

The area of the building that suffered the most damage was the office area and quality control area but there was also damage to the manufacturing building.

Channel 9 spoke with the fire chief who had worked at the plant on and off since he was a teenager.

“The family history of the place and the community loss, that’s the biggest thing is the employees here.  There are a few husband-wives teams. They don’t have any income now,” said Allen Hudson with South Mountain Fire.

There is no word yet on what caused the fire, though investigators told Channel 9 they think it may have started in the back of the building. The fire marshal said it could take days to figure out the cause.

The SBI has been called in to help investigate.

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