Fire damages American furniture facility in Martinsville | News … – Martinsville Bulletin


MARTINSVILLE – A fire Saturday evening heavily damaged a former American of Martinsville facility on Aaron Street.

Crews from the Martinsville, Collinsville and Ridgeway fire departments were on the scene as of 6:30 p.m. Police scanner traffic indicated that more crews were being called in.

Firefighters and other emergency personnel on the scene said they couldn’t say how the fire got started or if it was related to the weather. Several storms passed through the area during the day, as Martinsville and Henry County were under a severe thunderstorm watch all Saturday afternoon and through the evening. 

The fire occurred after a heavy thunderstorm passed across Martinsville during the afternoon. A light rain was falling when firefighters began extinguishing the fire.

Flames engulfed the entire building, sending thick plumes of black smoke high into the air above parts of Broad Street, Memorial Boulevard and nearby streets. At least one exterior wall along Aaron Street had collapsed by 6:15 p.m.

It was that collapse that brought some onlookers out to see what was going on.

“It was hard to miss,” said Amy Colvin. She and her husband Dennis were driving by when they were redirected by police. The couple decided to get out and see what caused the delay.

Dennis said they had heard explosions and loud popping noises. Later on, fiery paper-like embers rose into the air at times along with the smoke.

All portions of Broad Street and Starling Avenue near the fire were blocked off Saturday afternoon. That’s not just because of the fire itself, but due to damage sustained by the electrical lines. At least one utility pole was on fire beside Aaron Street, and electrical lines along the street were waving and falling. A Martinsville Electric Department crew was busy trying to repair the damage.

The Colvins weren’t the only ones who stopped to observe. As smoke and flames were visible from a considerable distance, many people from nearby neighborhoods drove or walked to the area to witness the incident. Some onlookers lined the nearby railroad.

Here’s a look at different images from Saturday’s fire at the American plant


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