LENOIR, N.C. — A former furniture factory in Lenoir was severely damaged by a fire Sunday. 

The fire started sometime Sunday afternoon at an old plant located at 515 Virginia St. SW, off Morganton Boulevard in Lenoir. The building was the former Broyhill Occasional plant. It is currently vacant, and a company was working to salvage materials and clean up the building.

The Lenoir Fire Department received the fire call at around 4:50 p.m., and 55 City of Lenoir firefighters responded.  After arriving on the scene, the LFD command staff asked the Lenoir Police Department to shut down Morganton Boulevard and Virginia Street to run fire hoses.

 Lenoir firefighters had the blaze under control and contained around 11:30 pm Sunday night, and the majority of the crews returned to their stations around 1:30 am.

“At this point, the fire is contained within the building walls and it’s going to burn and smolder a few days,” LFD Fire Chief Ken Hair said Monday morning. “We’re making sure everything is contained. When we get visible fire, we put it out. It will take a few days.”

Chief Hair said preliminary reports suggest the fire was started by workers using torches to cut steel pipe and beams out of the roof. Hair said he suspects some roof material may have caught fire and had been smoldering unnoticed when the contractors left. 

The majority of the fire was the roof burning, he said. The building is predominantly steel and concrete.

There were a few explosions during the incident caused by pressurized acetylene and oxygen tanks on site. The building’s roof also collapsed during the fire.

Several agencies provided mutual aid during the incident. Hudson, Gamewell, and Valmead fire departments went on standby to respond to calls in Lenoir. Hudson responded to a couple calls in the Whitnel area during the fire.

No one was injured during the fire.