LAURINBURG –Emergency officials say a section along Leisure Road is safe following a fire involving hazardous materials.
A hazardous materials response team from Fayetteville has given the “all clear” after Wednesday’s fire at William Bethea’s Farm.
A passerby made the call of a structure fire at the farm at 9000 Leisure Road shortly after 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. A number of chemicals were stored in the barn.
Fire crews arrived on scene to find a “fully involved structure fire,” in the approximately 2,000-square-foot building according to Laurinburg Fire Chief Randy Gibson.
“We ran into a situation with hazardous materials with pesticides and other farm chemicals and diesel fuel,” Gibson said.
The fire became a “defensive operation,” rather than simply suppression due to the size of the fire and the chemicals involved.
Scotland County Emergency Services Director, Roylin Hammond alerted state authorities to the issue and the regional Hazmat team was called in to assess air quality and check the soil for possible contamination.
“By the time they got here the fire was out and the smoke had dissipated by then,” Hammond said. “They did monitor the soil and air at the building.”
Because of the threat to air quality, residents in the home next to the barn were evacuated.The family was allowed to return to the home by early afternoon.
No one else was evacuated in the sparsely populated area.
Hammond believes the fact that the area was surrounded by fields was a benefit to the situation.
No one was injured in the fire.
“There is a 500-acre cornfield south of the farm, so that was the best scenario for what happened,” Hammond said.
The wood and tin structure and the equipment inside were a total loss for the farm’s owner, Bethea.
There were no damage estimate for the blaze at press time. Authorities also have not determined a cause.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169