The dust is beginning to settle from one of the largest fires in Lexington history. Crews continue to monitor the mounds of brick and twisted metal that once was Dixie Furniture. Firefighters have worked tirelessly monitoring the scene for hot spots and making sure large brick walls that are no longer structurally sound come down safely. Another top priority is to keep curious citizens out of harm’s way. There have been no injuries from this fire and the City wants to keep it that way. Railroad Street is shut down indefinitely and roads in and around the fire scene have been blocked by barricades. It could take up to a week before the scene is safe enough for investigators to begin looking for the cause. Police want citizens to continue to stay away from the scene as it is dangerous. The City realizes that it is an emotional time for people who grew up living around and working in the Dixie furniture plant. The City wants to assure its citizens that something positive will come out of this fire. Mayor Newell Clark points out that Lexington is resilient and says it will bounce back from this. The City was questioned about how the fire might affect future development plans. The City Manager wants to assure its citizens that plans to revitalize the area are still on track. The space Goose and the Monkey Brew House is going to lease was saved in the fire. The space behind the amphitheater that was going to be used for mixed use development was also saved. Also, no current businesses, including Bull City Ciderworks, were damaged by the fire. When you look at the wreckage, you will see the Dixie smokestack continues to dot the Lexington skyline. The City plans to preserve that part of Lexington history.
The City says its highly skilled Fire Department and its ability to work effectively with other departments in the City was key in this emergency. The Fire Department recently received a new rating by the NC Department of Insurance. It was upgraded from a Class 3 to a Class 2 rating following an extensive evaluation by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. The rating means that the City has some of the best equipment and some of the most highly trained firefighters in the state. The City recently purchased some radios that were used during this fire to aid in communications between neighboring agencies and departments. Firefighters told City officials those radios helped them a great deal.
The City is very thankful for all the support it received. There were 75 firefighters fighting the flames at the peak of the fire and more than 100 responding. Twenty five assisting agencies were at the scene. Around 3,000 people gathered to look at the fire as it was visible from homes a mile away. Police worked hard to keep those people safe and away from the scene. The City also received support with food and donations. Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Domino’s, 3 Food Lion stores, McDonalds, and Sheetz brought food in for those responding to the fire. The City wants to thank everyone for pulling together during this emergency.
Timeline of events:
An initial fire broke out around 2 a.m. on December 19th in a space behind the historic Dixie smokestack. Crews had that fire under control by around 3:30 a.m. The cause of that fire is undetermined, but suspicious. Crews continued to monitor that area throughout the day to check for a possible hidden fire or a spot where the fire could rekindle. At around 5:15 p.m. smoke was spotted and Lexington Firefighters quickly responded. Salisbury and Thomasville crews arrived at the scene by around 5:30 p.m. Dixie furniture was known for furniture refinishing and so chemicals used in that process that had seeped into the walls over the years made fighting the fire difficult. On December 20th at 2 p.m., the City held a press conference at Fire Station 1 at 200 E. Center Street to discuss the details with the media.
Thank you extended to assisting agencies:
- Salisbury Fire Department
- Thomasville Fire Department
- Midway Fire Department
- Lexington Police Department
- City of Lexington Utilities -Water, Electric, and Natural Gas Departments
- City of Lexington Street Department
- Lexington Human Resources
- Davidson County EMS
- Davidson County Emergency Management
- Davidson County Fire Marshal
- Davidson County Rescue Squad Auxiliary
- Mocksville Fire Department
- Silver Valley Fire Department
- Central Fire Department
- West Lexington Fire Department
- Holly Grove Fire Department
- Linwood Fire Department
- Tyro Fire Department
- South Lexington Fire Department
- North Lexington Triangle Fire Department
- Welcome Fire Department
- Arcadia Fire Department
- Churchland Fire Department
- Reeds Fire Department
- Hasty Fire Department
Photo Credits: Seth Martin and CJ Surratt (Drone Picture)