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Construction crews at work when Cone Mills fire starts

By Shavonne Potts
spotts @salisburypost.com
A fire broke out early Wednesday morning in the former Cone Mills textile plant on South Railroad Street near downtown Salisbury.
Several fire trucks and departments responded to the blaze, which broke through the roof of the 705 S. Railroad St. building before 8:30 a.m.
A construction crew was working in the building when the fire began inside and moved into the ceiling, said Chris Kepley, Salisbury Fire Department’s public information officer.
The construction crew used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, Kepley said.
The fire ignited a portion of the roof, so firefighters cut a 2-by-6-foot area to make certain the fire was extinguished.
Kepley said firefighters used the thermal imaging camera donated this week to spot any hidden fires.
“There was a little fire,” she said.
Kepley said there was an initial “knockdown,” but the fire burned through the roof.
“The sprinklers didn’t activate because the bulk of the fire was above the sprinkler system,” Kepley said.
Salisbury Fire Department officials dispatched a number of units as a precaution to make sure the fire did not get out of hand. “We would rather have them here and not need them,” Kepley said.
Kepley said smoke filled the building.
The blaze Wednesday was the first mill fire since two Salisbury firefighters ó Vic Isler and Justin Monroe ó died while battling a blaze at Salisbury Millwork on March 7.
“It’s such a big building,” Kepley said of the former Cone Mills textile plant. “There are several businesses in the building.”
At least two businesses operated inside the building: Leonard Motor & Towing Co. and Price Marketing Inc.
In addition to Salisbury Fire, China Grove, Cleveland, Granite Quarry and Locke fire departments responded to the scene. Spencer and South Salisbury fire departments were on standby.
See video of the fire at link below. http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1596906444/bctid1614766014

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