Thousands of dollars in crops lost in Martin County grain facility fire

Thousands of dollars in crops lost in Martin County grain facility fire

MARTIN COUNTY - A fire erupted at a grain-producing facility in Martin County, destroying about $12,000 in crops.

The blaze happened at Lake Phelps Grain, at 1188 Cargill Road, just west of Williamston. Crews got the call at about 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

Fire officials confirmed the fire started in a grain bin. They said roughly $12,000 worth of crops were lost. There was equipment damage reported as well.

"Flames were everywhere, it was a mess. Four or five different fire stations were out here," said Trey Hardee, an Assistant Supervisor at the facility. "It was devastating for one, to see the dryer on fire, and two, the commodity that we got in it, of course some of it's messed up."

Crews left the scene at about 1 a.m. Monday. There were no injuries reported.

Following the fire, workers were left to clean up the approximately 7,500 pounds of grain left lying on the ground below the dryer. "Oh it's a mess, of course we gotta get it done, but yeah it's a whole lot more extra work," said Hardee.

Jason Gibbs, the manager of the facility, said fires at the facility happen somewhat regularly. "Usually you can put it out in a matter of a minute or two, just turn the fans off it'll put itself out," he said. "Grain fires happen and in dryers especially it's just unfortunate it happened to us."

Outside of the thousands of dollars lost due to the ruined grain, the biggest problem may be repairs to the dryer. Workers said it could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $200,000 to fix.

Several local fire agencies responded. Fire officials said they were confident the fire was accidental.

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