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Baby wipe fabric catches fire in tractor-trailer

Damage was extensive, and firefighters from eight area fire departments spent six hours using thousands of gallons of water to extinguish a tractor-trailer fire late Wednesday night.

According to Cluster Springs Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Harris, the tractor-trailer carrying a load of baby wipe fabric to a factory to be made into wipes caught fire on Highway 501 north of Route 96.

“It took 50,000 gallons of water to put out the fire,” Harris said.

Cluster Springs firefighters got the initial call to respond to the tractor-trailer fire around 11:15 p.m., Harris said, arriving on the scene with 12 firefighters and four trucks.

They were assisted by seven local fire departments along with State Police, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Department of Transportation,
Deputy Emergency Services Coordinator Chad Loftis and hazardous materials trucks from two area fire departments.

Harris said the tractor’s rear brakes caught fire and quickly spread to the trailer’s contents. 

Harris said the tractor-trailer was a total loss with damages totaling $100,000.  

The driver was not injured.

South Boston Fire Department responded with 10 firefighters and two trucks, while Halifax Volunteer Fire Department arrived with six firefighters and two trucks and an additional haz mat truck and crew. 

Virgilina Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene with 10 firefighters and two trucks, while Ceffo, N.C. Volunteer Fire Department arrived with two firefighters and two trucks.  

Woodsdale, N.C. Volunteer Fire Department responded with four firefighters, and Turbeville Volunteer Fire Department responded with two firefighters and one truck. 

Midway Volunteer Fire Department answered the call with four firefighters and one truck along with an additional haz mat truck and crew.

Numerous firefighters remained on the scene for six hours as they worked to bring the fire under control.

Both northbound lanes of Highway 501 were closed to traffic as firefighters battled the blaze until after 5. Thursday morning, Harris said.

After extinguishing the flames, Harris said Slagle’s Excavation, Franklin’s Wrecker Service and Tommy’s Refuge loaded the charred material into trash bins to be hauled off.

Harris expressed appreciation to everyone who assisted.