Cause of Boykins warehouse fire not known yet

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BOYKINS—Investigators still don’t know what caused a warehouse to burn to the ground on Friday.

Firefighters and rescue personnel from 17 departments were called to extinguish the fire at Dolphin Fixtures warehouse at 18068 Serbin St. No one was injured in the blaze, which started shortly after 11 a.m.

Gene Drewery, a lieutenant deputy sheriff with Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday the fire was still under investigation.

“At this point the cause is still undetermined,” Drewery said.

Scott Freeman, president of Dolphin Fixtures, also said the cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

“They have not found a cause for the fire at this time,” Freeman said Tuesday. “The fire investigator that was hired by the insurance company was pointing toward the electrical panel and an electric forklift.”

Freeman said he also hired his own investigator to determine the cause of the fire.

“Hopefully the two of them will come up with the same conclusion,” Freeman said.

The warehouse was being used to store shelving, mannequins and other items for department stores.

Freeman said he had insurance but in hindsight doesn’t think he had enough.

“Right now I’m in search of inventory to supplement us to be able to hold on until we can get our inventory back up,” he said.

Asked about his company’s future plans, Freeman said, “We will probably rebuild, but I’m not sure what we will be doing at this point. There are too many intangibles.”

Freeman’s company has purchased the former Aster Nut Products building across the street from the burned warehouse.

“We’re going to keep that regardless,” Freeman said. “It will probably speed us up a little bit now to get it set up and clean up with that building.”

The fire knocked out electrical power to most of the Boykins area for several minutes and used up about two-thirds of the town’s water supply. Firefighters had to pump water from Tarrara Creek to completely extinguish the blaze. Narricot Industries closed their nearby plant at 1 p.m. and sent employees home.