Furious Midnight Blaze in Carthage Investigated
Flames leaping from a midnight Carthage fire could be seen as far away as Robbins.
“When I passed Calvary Christian Church on the Plank Road coming from Robbins, I could see it,” said Carthage Municipal Works Director Rocky Davis. “When I came around that Plank Road, curve I could see it.”
A local EMS crew discovered the blaze and called 911 early Friday morning, and eight fire departments rushed to 405 Monroe St. Several businesses are located there, including Hinesley Heating and Air.
“Anyway, she was a-cookin’ when they got there,” Davis said. “It started in the back somewhere.”
Davis is a member of the Robbins Fire Department, which joined other units assisting Carthage in the struggle to bring the fire under control. Carthage Chief Brian Tyner was in command.
By morning light, the fire was controlled, though a few members of the Carthage department remained on site keeping watch and hosing down hot spots periodically throughout the day. State Bureau of Investigation agents were assisting Carthage police officers and sheriff’s deputies along with federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) agents conducting the investigation.
Davis phoned Town Manager Carol Sparks about 2 a.m. to tell her. She surveyed the damage early Friday morning.
“Mr. Hinesley has been adding on to that building, and had moved their office over there” Sparks said. “The wooden part is a general merchandise store and a nail salon. It was a big fire. It’s a loss to Carthage. I am just grateful it did not spread over to Mid-State Furniture. That shows what good fire departments are in the county, not just ours. We work together.”
Hinesley’s Heating and Air added the brick portion seven years ago and initially rented it out. One previous tenant was the probation department, and then Hinesley moved its headquarters there.
Nobody was injured. Power was disrupted and phone service to more than 1,000 homes was threatened when flames struck wires and cables behind the building.
Telephone service was interrupted for about 500 homes, according to workers repairing the damage. They said service was to be restored by the end of the day.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
“Don’t know anything,” Police Chief Chris McKenzie said. “Right now the fire marshal, SBI, ATF and Robbie (police Sgt. Robbie May) are still up there working on it.”
Streets on all sides were blocked, according to Davis, who praised firefighters and equipment from the Southern Pines Fire Department for helping keep damage contained to that original structure.
“They brought that ladder truck from Southern Pines, put a whuppin’ on it,” Davis said. “They could shoot straight down on top of it. They did a good job when they got an excavator, pulled the junk out.”
Railroad man Ken Eder brought that piece of equipment and was able to use its pincer claw to gut the building from the front.
“He’s got one that’s got a claw on the end of it,” Davis said. “He brought it over, picking stuff up out of the basement so they could get to the part of the fire they couldn’t get to. It started in the back.”
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