For a second day, Alamance County fire crews responded to the Carolina Mill along Haw River, as hotspots from the prior day flared back up. A blaze on Nov. 25 destroyed the historic structure located at 2058 Carolina Mill Road. Vehicle traffic on both Carolina Mill Road and Carolina Road was impacted.
The Carolina Mill incident follows the Culp Weaving Plant fire in Graham as the second mill in Alamance County to catch fire this month. The Carolina Mill was a former cotton mill which was built in 1869.
A caller reported a fire inside the Carolina Mill at roughly 4:03 a.m. on Nov. 25, and the mill was fully engulfed in flames by the time fire crews were on scene — according to Chief Jimmy Westbrook from the Faucette Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Twelve fire departments from across Alamance County, including those from Graham and Burlington, responded to assist crews from the Faucette Township Volunteer Fire Department. Westbrook said at the height of the response, around 75 people were on scene.
“It was all a defensive attack … we couldn't get close to the building because of the unstable building, so we just fought the fire from the air,” Westbrook said.
The size of the fire and severity of structural instability required firefighters to utilize aerial ladder trucks to fight the fire, as opposed to entering the building.
Westbrook said fire crews still have concerns around the structural stability of the building, as a temporary fence has been put around it. Westbrook estimated that around one million gallons of water have been used on the building to put the fire out. The blaze reduced the structure to a shell, with mainly only the outer walls remaining.
According to Westbrook, while the main part of the fire was extinguished on Nov. 25, some rekindling of hot spots within the building required fire crews to respond again to put out remaining flames on Nov. 26.
“We had a whole lot of leftover heavy timber inside the structure,” Westbrook said. “I’m real tired, I hate to come back today but it rekindled and we had open flames — we had to do something.”
The Alamance County Fire Marshall is still investigating the cause of the Carolina Mill fire.