North Carolina Largest Fires Database

Last updated April 19, 2009

See Deadliest Fires Database for fires with large loss of life. Contact Mike Legeros to contribute or correct information.

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Year Date Location County Loss (K) Blocks Buildings Notes
1816 Jun 11 Raleigh Wake     51 Destroyed 51 buildings in first two blocks of Fayetteville Street.
1819 Nov Wilmington New Hanover       Large section of town.
1831 May 29 Fayetteville Cumberland     600+ Over 600 structures.
1835   New Bern Craven       Several blocks destroyed.
1837   New Bern Craven       Several blocks destroyed.
1843   New Bern Craven       Several blocks destroyed.
1849 Jan Greensboro Guilford       Business district destroyed.
1854 Dec 18 Statesville Iredell       Half of town destroyed or damaged.
1860s   Washington Beaufort       Large part of town, after Northern troops set fire to stockpile of naval stores.
1864 Nov 19 Wilmington New Hanover     20+ Fire on wharf destroys more than 20 buildings.
1869 Sep 4 Goldsboro Wayne     13 Wayne House, Masonic Hall, lumberyard, ten warehouses. Source: NYT.
1872   Greensboro Guilford       Larger portion of town.
1873 Apr 6 Enfield Halifax       Two railroad warehouses, and other structures.
1880 Dec 1 Durham Durham 200     Half of the town, loss over $200,000. Source: NYT.
1886 Nov 16 Durham Durham       Large portion of town destroyed.
1886   Wilmington New Hanover       Waterfront fire, burned for several days, destroyed many buildings.
1887 Mar 27 Clinton Sampson     49 49 dwellings, started in F. Reichmann's store.
1888   Durham Durham       Fire 1 of 2, destroyed two blocks or more.
1888   Durham Durham       Fire 2 of 2, destroyed two blocks or more.
1890   Thomasville Davidson       Nearly every business on East Main Street.
1892 Jan 7 Raleigh Wake     30 Destroyed 30 buildings.
1892 Oct 5 Clinton Sampson       Entire block of Wall Street.
1899 May 5 Greenville Pitt     25 25 stores and offices.
1900 Sep 14 Washington Beaufort       Business district destroyed.
1902   Clinton Sampson     43+ Entire southern section of town, including 43 stores.
1907 Apr 7 Salisbury Rowan     5 Five manufacturing plants.
1911 Jun 12 Apex Wake       Business district destroyed.
1912   Black Mountain Buncombe       Most of downtown business district around Depot and Cherry streets.
1913 Feb 6 Rolesville Wake     10 Business section of town, ten buildings destroyed.
1914 Mar 23 Durham Durham       Large portion of business district destroyed.
1918 Jul 2 Charlotte Mecklenburg     48 48 homes, 250 homeless, started on Caldwell Street.
1918   Burlington Alamance       Downtown.
1922 Dec 1 New Bern Craven 2,000+ 40 1,000+ Destroyed 40 blocks and left 3,000 people homeless.
1923 Oct 4 Blowing Rock Watauga       Large part of business district. Destroyed "entire block of business houses." Led to formation of fire department. Source: Statesville Landmark, 08OCT23.
1933 May 29 Charlotte Mecklenburg       Virginia Carolina Chemical Company, West Tremont Avenue. Source: yearbook.
1934 Jan 28 Wrightsville Beach New Hanover       Northern end of island.
1935 Jun 22 Washington Beaufort       Moss Planning Mill Company. Five commercial buildings and four homes destroyed, and one firefighter killed.
1936 May Lexington Davidson       United Furniture Corporation. Fire fought over 12 hours.
1940 Feb 7 Knightdale Wake     6 Business section of town. Six structures destroyed.
1941   Newport Carteret       Business district.
1944 Jan 14 Greensboro Guilford       Gasoline tanker explodes, burns houses in 1000 block of Gorrell Street. Source: yearbook.
1944 Apr 8 N/A Pasquotank 450     Forman-Derrickson Lumber Company. $450,000 loss.
1946 Mar 7 Fuquay Springs Wake       Main block of downtown. Four businesses destroyed, five others damaged.
1949 Jan 21 Wilmington New Hanover 399   7 Orton Hotel, plus six adjacent buildings, $399,298 loss.
1953 Mar 9 Wilmington New Hanover       Warehouses and other buildings.
1954 Jun 24 Charlotte Mecklenburg       Southern Railway Freight Terminal, South College Street. Building, 23 freight cars, 7 autos. Source: Yearbook.
1956 Feb 14 Winston-Salem Forsyth 1,490     B. F. Huntley furniture plant, $1,490,000 loss.
1959 Jun 28 Greensboro Guilford       New Home Building Supply Company, South Mendenhall Street. Estimated $250,000 damage. Source: yearbook.
1961 Sep 26 Morehead City Carteret       Navy tanker explodes and burns in Newport River, at Radio Island aviation fuel farm.
1964 Oct 19 Charlotte Mecklenburg       Doggett Lumber Company, South Boulevard & East Park Avenue. Last general alarm fought by  CFD. Source: Yearbook.
1964 Dec 23 Burlington Alamance       Downtown.
1965   New Bern Craven       Hotel William Tryon. Crews on scene for 43 hours.
1969 Apr Asheville Buncombe       Bank of Asheville and Dunham's Music House buildings downtown.
1970 Oct 14 Greensboro Guilford       Greensboro Bonded Warehouse. Source: yearbook.
1978 Aug 8 Rocky Mount Nash       Kaiser Agricultural Chemical Company. Source: RMFD yearbook.
1979 May 25 Shelby Cleveland       Block destroyed, four firefighters killed.
1985 Apr 13 Greensboro Guilford     7 Seven buildings at 300 S. Davie Street.
1985 Apr 23 Charlotte Mecklenburg       Royster Fertilizer Company, 2300 LaSalle Street. Three alarms. Estimated loss $7 million. Source: CFD yearbook.
1989 Oct 4 Swepsonville Alamance       Old Virginia Mills plant.
1998 Aug 27 Winston-Salem Forsyth       R.J. Reynolds Plant #256, 13 engines, 5 ladders, 9 hours to control.
2003 Jan 29 Kinston Lenoir       West Pharmaceutical Plant explosion and fire. Over half of 150,000 square-foot plant destroyed.
2003 Sep 3 Swannanoa Buncombe       Beacon Manufacturing Plant, 32 fire departments, 24 engines, 7 ladders, 7 tankers, 522 personnel.
2007 Feb 22 Raleigh Wake       Townhouse community, 27 destroyed, 11 damaged, 72 people displaced.
2008 Aug 17 Robbins Moore       At least 45 firefighters from 5 counties at former textile plant.



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