Firefighters battle CorTek blaze

Plant owner: Lighting might have sparked it 

By Kevin Spradlin

* Photo gallery

HAMLET — Firefighters from five agencies responded Tuesday afternoon to a report of bales of paper on fire at a Hamlet manufacturer.

Personnel with the Hamlet Fire Department responded first to 12 E.V. Hogan Drive in the Pine Hills Industrial Park off State Route 177, followed in short order by personnel with the North Carolina Forest Service and the Rockingham Fire Department as well as volunteers from East Rockingham and Cordova volunteer fire departments. The blaze burned an estimated 3 acres behind the plant but homes on the other side of the woods did not appear to be endangered.

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Cortek Inc. is a specialty packaging manufacturer. Byproducts of employees’ labor include tightly wound bales of cardboard. Lynwood Dunn, plant owner and president, said his workers believe that a lightning strike from Monday night’s lighting show that filled Richmond County skies is responsible for sparking the blaze.

Firefighters were still on scene after 6 p.m. as they worked to extinguish hotspots. Additional volunteers from East Rockingham were called to respond to assist personnel battling the fire as well as temperatures that peaked in the low 90s under a blazing sun.

Hours earlier, Dunn said someone looked outside in the storage area and said, “‘hey, our scrap is on fire.'”

Dunwood emphasized that employees were never at risk. One Hamlet firefighter suffered eye irritation due to chemicals on scene. He was transported by a privately-owned vehicle to FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Meanwhile, firefighters worked the fire and used heavy equipment to pull out bales of cardboard, cut them open and spray them to put out any hotspots.

“Nothing of substance was lost,” Dunn said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Dunn estimated damage to lost byproducts and an out-of-service truck to be approximately $2,000.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

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