Severn Peanut fire rekindles Monday

Published 10:54 pm Monday, August 31, 2009

SEVERN – Firefighters from two states were summoned here Monday where a blaze rekindled over the weekend at Severn Peanut Company.

As of Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald press time Monday night, the fire was under control. However, the unique, golf-ball shaped dome in which peanuts are stored is a total loss. There was said to be 10,000 tons of peanuts stored at the time of the fire, one which first ignited on Aug. 11.

According to a press release issued by Northampton County Emergency Management, the fire is contained to the dome. The additional fire departments were needed to maintain a steady supply of water to use in an effort to extinguish the smoldering peanuts.

Email newsletter signup

“The situation is under control,” Northampton County Emergency Management Director Tim Byers said. “Crews will work in 24 hour shifts until the fire is extinguished.”

Due to the isolated location of the dome, no other structures appear to be threatened by the fire. There have been no reports of any injuries.

On Monday afternoon, fire trucks representing departments in Northampton, Hertford, Gates and Halifax counties as well as southside Virginia lined a portion of the High Bridge Road, their tanks full of water. One by one, those trucks made their way to an area adjacent to the burning dome, dumping their water into a pair of drop tanks which were used to fuel the fire hoses aimed at the blaze. Once those trucks dumped their water load, their tanks were refilled using a nearby hydrant and they then fell back in the supply line.

Several firemen were positioned up five flights of stairs on a tower adjacent to the dome. From that vantage point, water was sprayed on top of the fire.

Meanwhile, a crane was positioned on the north side of the dome where it methodically employed the use of a bucket to pluck the charred peanuts from the top of the pile.

The entire top of the dome was lost in the original fire, one discovered around 5 p.m. on Aug. 11.

At the fire’s outset over two weeks ago, Northampton County Emergency Management along with North Carolina Emergency Management were on the scene, as were officials with Public Health Regional Surveillance Team for Region 1, North Carolina Regional Response Team and Industrial Fumigant Company of Winston-Salem.

Precautionary steps were taken to ensure the safety of the community and an evacuation plan was put into place if needed.

As of Aug. 14, the fire was deemed “stabilized” until it flared up again on Saturday.

What caused the initial blaze remains unknown.