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SBI TO HELP PROBE HILLSBOROUGH FIRE

SBI TO HELP PROBE HILLSBOROUGH FIRE

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The State Bureau of Investigation will help determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a section of the historic Hillsborough Business Center Saturday and put at least 100 people out of work.

SBI investigators will bring a specially trained dog to the site to help them determine the cause of the blaze, believed to be the largest in the city's history, Hillsborough Fire Chief Mark Gordon said Sunday.Gordon said he thinks the fire started in the rear of a single-story section of the building used by Custom Molders, which makes plastic parts for dashboards and car doors.

Workers at the molding business reported a sudden ``wall of heat and smoke and flame ... that came through the wall at the back of their work area' about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, he said.

Firefighters from Hillsborough and Orange, Durham and Alamance counties spent nearly five hours getting the blaze under control, then fought a roof fire for about eight more hours, Gordon said. They stayed at the building until 5 p.m. Sunday, keeping watch on smoldering debris.

The fire damaged what Gordon said he thinks is the original building of the former Cone Mills Eno Plant, built in the early 1900s.

No one was seriously injured in the fire, but two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion, and a third sprained his wrist, Gordon said.

The blaze-battle strained Hillsborough's small water system, and town and county officials arranged for a line from Orange County to be opened to increase water pressure, he said.

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