Mount Olive town staff will operate out of several temporary locations after a Sept. 6 fire that resulted in nearly $100,000 in damages to Town Hall.
Town offices will be stationed in the Mount Olive Police Department, the magistrate’s office, a courtroom and a portion of Town Hall, at 114 E. James St.
Town Manager Jammie Royall said the fire damaged a portion of the Arlene G. Talton Municipal Complex that houses Royall’s office, the utilities department, human resources, the police department and other offices.
Royall said the town clerk will locate in the magistrate’s office.
“My assistant will be housed in the magistrate’s office, and then I’ve got human resources that was in that building, and they will be in one of the offices at the police department,” he said. “Code enforcement and inspections will be in another section of Town Hall.”
Royall said town employees will still answer calls and that people will still be able to pay their bills at Town Hall. Anyone needing to pay on a cemetery plot will need to go to the inspections office.
“We’ll have a sign that tells them where to go in and pay,” Royall said.
All of the repairs and cleanup costs are covered by the town’s insurance policy, Royall said. He said the insurance adjuster arrived Sept. 8 and that a restoration company would begin work on the damaged Town Hall on Sept. 9.
The Mount Olive Fire Department, along with four other fire departments, responded to the fire, said Greg Wiggins, Mount Olive fire chief.
Wiggins said the fire resulted in $100,000 in estimated damages including $50,000 to the building and $50,000 in building contents.
Mount Olive firefighters arrived on scene around 2:39 a.m., approximately six minutes after being dispatched, Wiggins said.
“We had smoke oozing from the eaves of the roof,” he said. “You could see some mini-blinds melted in the front office. We got our hoses off and established a water supply before we sent anybody in.”
Wiggins said the fire began between the town clerk’s office and the front lobby and that it was contained because the doorway in the hallway was closed, as was the town manager’s office door.
“We’ve got smoke damage throughout the building,” Wiggins said. “Some water damage (is) in the front office and into the manager’s office.”
The fire is believed to have been accidental, Wiggins said.
“It appears the fire started behind the secretary’s desk,” Wiggins said. “There is an electrical outlet there that had some devices plugged into it.”
After arriving on scene, between 25 to 30 firefighters who responded to the scene had the fire under control in about 15 to 20 minutes, Wiggins said. He said they spent another hour and a half pulling down ceiling tiles, checking for hot spots and doing ventilation and salvaging.
Wiggins said a group of police officers had called 911 to report smoke coming from the town manager’s office.
“They had come into the police station and actually smelled smoke in their building, so they got to doing a little investigation and found there was a lot of the smoke in the town manager’s office,” Wiggins said. “That’s when they alerted us and we got there.”
Mayor Kenny Talton said he’s just glad no injuries occurred and that the building wasn’t a total loss.
“You never know what you have because it very well could’ve been a total loss,” Talton said. “I’m thankful that nobody got hurt.”