CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. – About 75 firefighters on Thursday battled a blaze inside a former fruit cold storage facility north of Charles Town that is now being used by a business that is extracting CBD oil from hemp, a fire official said. When firefighters arrived after receiving the call about 10:30 a.m., there was heavy
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. – About 75 firefighters on Thursday battled a blaze inside a former fruit cold storage facility north of Charles Town that is now being used by a business that is extracting CBD oil from hemp, a fire official said.
When firefighters arrived after receiving the call about 10:30 a.m., there was heavy fire and smoke in one end of the building on Cold Storage Road, said Lt. Billy McDonald of the Independent Fire Co., in Ranson.
Two water lines were extended to the building, and two crews of firefighters entered the structure in an attempt to find the base of the fire, McDonald said.
“The problem was we had a large amount of hazardous materials inside,” said McDonald.
That forced authorities to call for a hazardous materials unit from Loudoun County, Va., to deal with the material, McDonald said.
Experts were able to safely secure the substances, McDonald said.
“Most of it burned off in the fire,” he said.
Among the hazardous materials in the building was acetone and methanol, which the business was using in the CBD extraction process, McDonald said. The company is extracting the CBD oil to be used in the cosmetic industry, he said.
There were no injuries. Firefighters from throughout Jefferson and Berkeley counties responded, as well as Washington County.
McDonald said he didn’t know what started the fire, and added that the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s office was called to look into it. A representative from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also responded to assess the scene.
A damage estimate was not available. McDonald said the business has only been in the building a short period. A representative for the business who was at the scene declined to comment.
The structure is off Summit Point Road between Charles Town and Summit Point. It is a longtime landmark that used to be operated by the Byrd family, which was involved in apple growing and the newspaper business in Winchester, Va., said John Van Vliet, who operates Shenandoah Planing Mill in another end of the building.
Van Vliet said he leases space from a group who acquired the building after the Byrd family owned it. Van Vliet purchases timber and cuts it to make various wood products.
There were large sections of timber in back of the building, as well as stacks of wood boards.
Van Vliet said he has been in the building for more than a year, and business is good. He has six employees.
“It’s a good re-use of an old building,” said Van Vliet.