Site of 2008 Moore County mill fire finally getting a cleanup

(Steve Sbraccia/CBS North Carolina)

ROBBINS, N.C. (WNCN) – A tiny Moore County town is excited the rubble-strewn site of a former mill is about to be cleaned up thanks to a federal grant.

The town of Robbins has kept the site locked off ever since a fire destroyed the old mill in 2008.

Much of the debris is tainted by asbestos following what is called the biggest fire in Moore County history.

The fire destroyed a place that once employed more than 2,000 people when the mill was at peak production.

But that fire left a huge mess.

“All this area still has asbestos so we have to use the cleanup grant to hire a specialty contractor to clean up the asbestos,” said Town Manager Jeff Sheffield.

Residents of Robbins said the cleanup has been a long-time coming.

“It looks like something from the walking dead,” said resident James Dunlop. “I expect a zombie to walk out of there any time.”

If the Town gets its way, the site will be beautifully rehabbed.

“We may put housing here. And where we are standing still has a good concrete setting so we can put in some kind of industry,” Sheffield said.

A $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency becomes available in October.

The cleanup is expected to take a year, Sheffield said.

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