ROCKINGHAM — A structure fire at the Rockingham Farm and Flea Market on U.S. 220 brought out five area fire departments just before noon Tuesday.
The call came in at 11:26 a.m., according to Bryan Cloninger, deputy chief of the Northside Volunteer Fire Department.
Cloninger said about half the building was “involved in fire” when crews arrived on the scene.
Firefighters first attempted to battle the blaze from the inside, Cloninger said, but were pulled out after about 15 minutes when the roof of what appeared to be a storage building began to collapse.
Crews from the Rockingham, East Rockingham, Cordova and Ellerbe departments joined Northside firefighters to help extinguish the fire. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Emergency Management, FirstHealth EMS and Duke Energy also responded.
Mixed-department crews attacked the fire from two areas — in the front and on the right side, near the back — from the ground, while a steady spray from Rockingham Fire Department’s ladder truck doused flames from above.
Even when flames were sparse, thick, black smoke filled the air, which could be seen rising above the treetops for several miles.
After a few flare-ups, the fire was mostly out just before 1 p.m. Small areas of flames still flickered under charred sheets of metal. Fire crews cleared the scene around 4 p.m.
Cloninger said two firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.
Once all the hotspots were put out and the smoke had cleared, Cloninger said the investigation would be turned over to the sheriff’s office.
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.