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Cause of Exchange Milling fire indeterminable

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ROCKY MOUNT (WSLS 10) -  The Rocky Mount Fire Department said investigators could not determine the cause of a fire that destroyed Exchange Milling.

The fire broke out just before 2 a.m. Sunday, November 1, 2015 at Exchange Milling along Franklin Street. It took about eighteen hours to put out.

According to a release from the Rocky Mount Police Department on November 4, the investigation concluded that the fire originated in one of the upper levels of the building, but due to the destruction of the structure by fire and the use of heavy equipment, the cause of the fire has been found to be indeterminable.

Costs of the damage have been estimated at approximately $3,000,000.

Fire in Rocky Mount - the aftermath. Courtesy of Jessica Walters-Motley

The Rocky Mount Fire Chief said the fire was difficult to extinguish because the building was built in the 19-30's with a heavy timber frame.

"We put about a million gallons of water on this very structure, so it was a lot of water for one fire," said Chief Jeff Rakes.

Burnt Chimney, Ferrum, and Glade Hill assisted the Rocky Mount Fire Department Sunday in battling the blaze.

One man who lives nearby says the fire was out of control in minutes.

"When I get there, it was, the flame from the fire was higher than the mill itself," said Ibrahim Ibrahim.

About 15 to 20 farmers used the mill for gran processing.

The Rocky Mount Water Plant started producing additional water to replenish the Town's water storage. No water supply issues are expected, but residential areas closest to the fire scene may notice cloudiness in their water due to the volume used for fire operations.

In 2012, the Rocky Mount Plant underwent renovations to help beautify Rocky Mount. Built in the 1930's, the plant is one of the oldest structures in Rocky Mount.


About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.