HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Until Tuesday afternoon, firefighters were still on the scene of a massive fire that broke out at a Henderson factory on Monday, monitoring the fire and putting out any hot spots.
It is the second time there’s been a fire at ETC of Henderson, a company that makes janitorial supplies. The first blaze was in 2003.
Much of the water used to fight the fire turned a milky white color. Some of it is in Mildred Hale’s yard.
“It’s ruining my property,” she said. “I’m scared to have a garden. I’m scared of anything because I don’t know what it would do to me.”
Hale, who has lived in her Henderson home for 43 years, is saving a jar of it in case it needs to be tested, she said.
“One day I may need it,” Hale said.
Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell tells us the water is a mixture of the water used to fight the fire and a non-toxic adhesive from the plant. He says there is no environmental impact.
ETC of Henderson Owner Penny Demetriades said the company is continuing to pay its employees. There are about 75 of them.
“Our biggest concern is for our customers who have been relying on us and they always knew they could and our employees who are obviously concerned for the future,” she said.
Demetriades said employees have been offering to do whatever they can do to get the company going again.
The mayor said ETC means a lot to the Henderson community.
“To lose an industry like ETC sitting right inside the city limits, it’s a big loss for us,” said Eddie Ellington, Henderson Mayor.
Frank Harrington, who also lives close by, told us his concern is seeing a large industrial property so close to so many homes.
“I would really prefer it be built somewhere else,” he said.
Demetriades said it is important to point out that many of the homes around the business came after the company already had opened up in that location.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Chief Cordell said he asked for the ATF and the SBI to help with the investigation given the magnitude of the fire. Both were on the scene Tuesday. He said it is not a sign that anything criminal took place.