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Downtown businesses saved after truck catches fire
Published 1:10 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023
RICH SQUARE – Several downtown businesses, including the town’s only pharmacy, avoided major damage here this morning (Thursday) after an 18-wheeler caught fire on Main Street (US 258).
Rich Square Fire Chief Mark Vick said Futrell Pharmacy and the old doctor’s office next door – now used for storage – both suffered some exterior damage.
“There’s damage to the soffit and the window seals, as well as some charred brick and wood, but we were able to knock down the fire to keep it from getting to the interior of those buildings,” Vick told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.
Vick said the fire to the truck began in its rear axel, possibly due to an issue with the brake lines.
“The driver said he ran over a deer that was already dead in the road about seven miles outside of town,” Vick stated. “He said he felt something wrong with his brakes as he got closer to Rich Square and then stopped on Main Street. We’re thinking that the truck striking the dead deer may have ruptured something mechanically that eventually caused the fire.”
Rich Square Fire & Rescue received the call at 3:19 a.m. The first units arrived on the scene five minutes later, finding the rear of the trailer on fire.
“We initially focused our efforts on knocking down the fire at the front of the pharmacy and then attacked the flames still coming from the truck’s trailer,” Vick said, adding that the trailer was hauling solar panels.
The driver, Vick said, was not injured.
Rich Square Fire & Rescue personnel were assisted by manpower and units from the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department.
“We really appreciate the help from the Woodland VFD,” Vick said. “They performed an interior and exterior inspection of the buildings.”
Vick said the last Rich Square Fire & Rescue unit cleared the scene at 8:30 a.m. One block of Main Street remained closed until 11 a.m. to allow a contractor to clear all debris off the roadway.
Also on the scene were Rich Square Police Chief William Smith, Northampton County Fire Marshal Chris Collier, and Northampton County EMS.