Whiteville firefighters have busy Thanksgiving

Piles of debris behind the old Lewis Smith Shopping Center were apparently set on fire Thursday evening.
Piles of debris behind the old Lewis Smith Shopping Center were apparently set on fire Thursday evening. The derelict building is being demolished by the city.

Five separate calls meant there was little rest for Whiteville firefighters on Thanksgiving.

One home was destroyed, another one damaged, and two piles of debris were possibly set on fire at a derelict shopping center.

Hal Lowder Jr., director of Emergency Services for the city, said firefighters were first called out to the 400 block of Britton Street around 10:18 a.m. A stove fire got out of control, Lowder said, damaging the kitchen. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and got the stove out of the residence.

Some of the personnel then gathered and donated a Thanksgiving meal to the victims.

While they were finishing up that call, a Toyota van struck a utility pole on North J.K. Powell Boulevard at the McDonald’s restaurant. The pole was broken and the van demolished. Repairs were completed around 6 p.m.

 At 7:24 p.m., the WFD and other units were called to a familiar address – the Lewis smith shopping center in downtown Whiteville. The plaza is being demolished after it was flooded during hurricanes Matthew and Florence, then burned earlier this year. There was no power to the building and it was unoccupied at the time of the original fire.

Lowder said Thursday night’s fire was confined to two large piles of demolition debris. The city owns the property.

Just after 1 a.m., firefighters were dispatched to City Drive Mobile Home Park to a vehicle fire. The blaze destroyed the vehicle, and is under investigation. There were no injuries.

The final fire kept personnel busy util after sunup Friday morning.

At 4:07 a.m., fire claimed a home in the 400 block of Canal Street. Flames were rolling out of the home when firefighters arrived moments later, Lowder said.

“They checked the home twice to be sure no one was inside,” he said. The residents were away at the time of the blaze, Lowder said. The home was a total loss. The cause is under investigation.

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About Jefferson Weaver 955 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of columbuscountynews.com and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at jeffersonweaver@columbuscountynews.com.