UPDATED: Flares continue at Myrtle Desk site

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 02:44 PM

UPDATED 2:45 P.M.

City firefighters had to return Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to the smoldering remains of the former Myrtle Desk factory, where a fire gutted one of the buildings.

The fire, which started late Monday night at the building south of downtown, continues to have hot spots that draw firefighters back to the scene so they can extinguish flare-ups. High Point Fire Department Capt. Denita Lynch said firefighters will continue to monitor the collapsed building for several days.
“They’ll wet it down, then it flares back up again,” Lynch told The High Point Enterprise Wednesday afternoon. “When you’ve got a building that size, it’s not uncommon at all.”
The former factory, which Lynch said dates from the 1940s, has been vacant. The plant is on Millis Street near the intersection of W. Green Drive and Taylor Avenue.
Because of the era in which it was built, the debris from the collapsed part of the building includes heavy timbers that can kindle fires, Lynch said.
“When you’ve got that much rubble that’s down there, it’s just hard to get up underneath of it,” she said.
The cause of the blaze, the first three-alarm fire in the city for the past four years, remains undetermined, Lynch said. Fire investigators can’t yet enter the area of the building where the roof collapsed because of the flares and the unstable nature of the debris.
“It’s going to have to be structurally safe for them to get in there,” Lynch said. “Everything is under investigation until they can get in there.”

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528

 

UPDATED 4:15 P.M.

Firefighters contending with abysmal weather conditions in the dark of night battled a blaze late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning that gutted a former Myrtle Desk furniture plant south of downtown. 
The fire caused the partial collapse of one roof of the 116,000-square-foot building, which was vacant and didn’t have an active business, said High Point Fire Department Capt. Denita Lynch. Firefighters will remain at the scene searching for and extinguishing hot spots, Lynch said Tuesday.
The blaze was the first three-alarm fire in the city in four years, Lynch told The High Point Enterprise. The last three-alarm blaze was a large house that burned on Emerywood Drive in 2010.
The cause of the old Myrtle Desk factory fire, which started about 11 p.m. Monday, remains under investigation, Lynch said. The plant is at 801 Millis St. near the intersection of W. Green Drive and Taylor Avenue.
Lynch said the damage to the section of the building consumed by the fire probably will be considered a total loss.
Late Tuesday morning, dozens of High Point firefighters remained at the scene as smoke continued to billow from part of the sprawling, brick-framed factory. One crew used a ladder truck to pour water from above the collapsed roof of the building onto flames still flickering in the debris.
The firefighters spent hours in frigid conditions, coping with temperatures around the freezing mark and periodic cold, cutting winds. They also had to negotiate streets, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks layered with ice.
One firefighter was treated and released from High Point Regional Hospital after he was injured while on an aerial ladder.
The firefighter injured his foot when it became entrapped in the rungs of the ladder as he was climbing, Lynch said.
“An aerial ladder is different from a regular ladder,” she said. “There’s less distance between the rungs. As he was climbing, apparently his foot went in between the rungs and trapped. They had to actually cut one of the rungs to release his foot.”
City business license records show that Myrtle Desk closed at the Millis Street location 16 years ago. The records indicate the building had a pair of other uses since Myrtle Desk workers quit making furniture at the location.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528

 

UPDATED 11 A.M.

 

Firefighters contending with abysmal weather conditions in the dark of night battled a blaze late Monday evening that gutted a former Myrtle Desk furniture plant south of downtown. 
The fire caused the partial collapse of the roof of the 116,000-square-foot building, which was vacant and didn’t have an active business, said High Point Fire Department Capt. Denita Lynch. Firefighters will remain at the scene searching for and extinguishing hot spots, Lynch said Tuesday morning.
The cause of the blaze, which started about 11 p.m. Monday, remains under investigation, she said. The old Myrtle Desk plant is at 801 Millis St. near the intersection of W. Green Drive and Taylor Avenue.
Lynch said the damage to the building probably will be considered a total loss.

Late Tuesday morning, dozens of High Point firefighters remained at the scene as smoke continued to billow from the part of the sprawling, brick-framed former factory. One crew used a ladder truck to pour water from above the collapsed roof of the building onto flames still flickering in the debris.

One firefighter was treated and released from High Point Regional Hospital after he was injured while on an aerial ladder.
The firefighter injured his foot when it became entrapped in the rungs of the ladder as he was climbing, Lynch said.
“An aerial ladder is different from a regular ladder,” Lynch said. “There’s less distance between the rungs. As he was climbing, apparently his foot went in between the rungs and trapped. They had to actually cut one of the rungs to release his foot.”
Firefighters battling the blaze had to contend with temperatures below freezing and steady freezing rain or sleet.
City business license records show that Myrtle Desk closed at the Millis Street location 16 years ago. The records show the building had a pair of other uses since Myrtle Desk quit making furniture at the location.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528

 

A High Point firefighter was injured while battling a blaze at a former, longtime furniture plant near downtown High Point.

The fire started around 11 p.m. Monday at the old Myrtle Desk building at 801 Millis St. near the intersection of W. Green Drive and Taylor Avenue. High Point Fire Chief Thomas Reid said the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters, battling icy conditions, couldn't go inside the building, Reid said. So they fought the fire from the outside.

One firefighter was injured when his foot and leg got caught in a ladder.  Reid said the firefighter was taken to High Point Regional Hospital and he is expected to recover.

About 5 a.m. Tuesday, the building's roof collapsed.