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HOF fire damages equipment

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer
A Lincoln County textile plant was forced to evacuate Tuesday night after a piece of warehouse equipment unexpectedly caught fire, resulting in more than a million dollars worth of damage.
South Fork firefighters served as primary responders to HOF Textiles on Kawai Road in Lincolnton, fire officials said. Crews responded to the site around 11:45 p.m., a report said.
According to Interim Emergency Management Director Bill Summers, the fire was visible from the plant’s rooftop upon firefighters’ arrival.
Summers told the Times-News Wednesday afternoon that a majority of the damage was confined to a very large piece of textile equipment that caught fire sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Authorities further explained that the damaged machinery was a dryer used for drying recently dyed fabric.
The flames were contained to the machine. However, smoke filled most of the plant, Summers noted.
“Fire went through the roof but burned through a natural vent for that machine,” he said.
He also considered the entire emergency response process to be a “good operation” that was completed and cleared within an hour after crews arrived on site.
Emergency Medical Services along with departments from Lincolnton, Crouse and Boger City also responded to the plant.
Authorities noted that other area fire stations also assisted in the incident by “staging” and moving equipment into vacant stations just in case additional aid was necessary.
A similar scene took place at the plant earlier this year. In January, a fire occurred in the facility’s chimney and duct system, forcing firefighters to climb the roof and cut holes in the ducts to extinguish the flames. The alert also first went out as an alarm call, fire officials said.
In both instances, employees were evacuated from the building, and no injuries were reported.
HOF Textiles has specialized “in functional and decorative non-wovens for automotive, industrial and apparel applications” in Lincolnton since 1992, according to the plant’s website.

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