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7 p.m. — Winston-Salem Fire Department confirms to FOX8 that crews are on scene of a fire at Weaver Fertilizer.

7:14 p.m.Winston-Salem Fire Department posts on Twitter: INCIDENT ALERT – Structure fire 2400 Block of Cherry Street. Fire attack in progress. #WSFire .107

8:01 p.m. Winston-Salem Fire Department posts on Twitter: INCIDENT UPDATE – Structure fire 4440 N. Cherry St. Fire attach still in progress. No injuries. #WSFire .107

8:58 p.m. — Emergency Services tells FOX8 that several city agencies were coming together to discuss plans.

9:32 p.m. — The City of Winston-Salem announces the evacuation on Twitter: 4440 N. Cherry Street. Please evacuate the area as soon as possible.

“Please evacuate the area as soon as possible.”

9:41 p.m.The Winston-Salem Fire Department releases details of evacuation on Twitter: INCIDENT ALERT- Structure Fire 4440 N. Cherry St. 1 mile evacuation in the area. #WSFire .107

Weaver Fertilizer fire evacuation area

10:03 p.m. — Winston-Salem fire chief tells FOX8 they “abandoned” the fire-fighting operation because of a large volume of ammonium nitrate on site. They could not flow enough volume of water to be reasonably certain that they could keep it cool enough to prevent a detonation. The building has collapsed. Access to the product that is in the building is very restricted. Fire department could not reach it even with elevated streams. 

10:23 p.m. — Wake Forest University asks students within one mile of fire to evacuate.

Because of a fire at 4440 N. Cherry Street, the Winston-Salem Fire Department is asking for voluntary evacuations by residents within a one-mile radius of that address. That includes off-campus housing north of Polo Road between Cherry Street and Long Drive. (See image of one-mile radius.) On-campus housing is not included in the evacuation.

Any faculty, staff or students in the area who can evacuate should do so. If possible, stay with friends or family who are outside the one-mile radius. The University is currently working on long-term plans for those who do not have an alternative place to go, and those plans will be communicated as soon as possible. 

Campus buildings that are currently open include the Wellbeing Center, Benson University Center and ZSR Library. You may wish to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, and/or blanket to be comfortable if the evacuation lasts more than a short time. You may consider taking necessary personal belongings needed for several hours should the evacuation remain in place. 

Motorists are also advised to avoid driving in this area.

Students on campus or living outside of the one-mile radius are encouraged to stay indoors and keep their windows closed.

The best source of information about the fire is the official Twitter page for the Winston-Salem Fire Department: @cityofwsfire.

11:06 p.m. The Winston-Salem Police Department announces evacuation location on Twitter: Please evacuate the one mile radius around 4440 North Cherry Street. Plan to be away from your home for up to 48 hours. Evacuation location 414 Deacon Blvd-The Education Building at the Fairgrounds. #cityofws #weaverfirews

11:13 p.m. Winston-Salem Police Department posts on Twitter: “Don’t wait for something to happen. Something has happened. Now is the time to get out.” @cityofwsfire Chief Trey Mayo on the Weaver Fertilizer Fire.

“Don’t wait for something to happen. Something has happened. Now is the time to get out.”


12:01 a.m. — Wake Forest University announces that classes are canceled for Feb. 1 due to the fire.

Wake Forest has opened the Wellbeing Center, Benson Center and ZSR Library for faculty, staff or students who are evacuating and are not able to stay with friends or family outside of the one-mile evacuation radius. Those buildings will remain open all night. You may wish to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, and/or blanket to be comfortable, as well as any other necessary personal belongings. Please remember to wear face masks when in campus buildings.

Wake Forest has set up a Student Support Center in the Wellbeing Center in conference room A330. Faculty and staff can contact with questions.

1:49 a.m. — FOX8 learns that nearby prisons are evacuating after spotting two transport buses leaving the area.

2:12 a.m. Winston-Salem Police Department posts on Twitter: It’s 2 a.m. and first responders are driving through neighborhoods within the one-mile radius pleading with folks to get out and head to safety. ⁦ @cityofwsfire ⁩ #cityofwspolice #weaverfirews

2:33 a.m. Thousands are located within evacuation area, according to City of Winston-Salem: The evacuation area around 4440 North Cherry Street has almost 6500 residents or 2,497 households. #MapForsyth #CityofWSFire

“The evacuation area around 4440 North Cherry Street has almost 6500 residents or 2,497 households.”

9:18 a.m. — The fire chief says crews fought the fire for 1.5 hours, but made no progress so they pulled crews away over safety concerns. The scene has been static for about eight hours.

11:21 a.m. — The evacuation site officially becomes a shelter, according to Piedmont Triad Red Cross Executive Director John Hughes. Crews set up cots for evacuees.

2:12 p.m. — Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office says Emergency Management is supplying temporary housing for the pets of evacuees and plans are in place to protect animals at the shelter.

(Courtesy of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office)

Our Animal Services Division (ASD) continues to monitor the industrial fire on North Cherry Street. We have emergency plans in place that will be activated in conjunction with our partners at Forsyth Humane Society (FHS) to ensure the animals at the Shelter are kept safe.

In response to the air quality concerns, we have already altered outdoor daily activities for the animals at the Shelter. We are grateful for the outpouring of concern and assistance that we have received from our community already.

Currently, there are no unfulfilled needs at the Animal Shelter and we will continue to monitor the situation. We are working with Emergency Management at the evacuation site on Deacon Blvd, supplying temporary housing for pets of individuals who have been evacuated.

2:40 p.m. — Andrew Carroll, a representative of the Winston Weaver Co., issued a statement.

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At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 31, our Winston Weaver Fertilizer Plant caught fire, and fire services for the city of Winston Salem were immediately contacted and dispatched. There have been no injuries or loss of life to any employees, fire responders or citizens at this time. We are grateful for the outstanding, rapid work last night and ongoing support from fire officials, as well as the volunteer services who have supported our employees and plant neighbors.

We will continue working with first responders and relevant officials to ensure safety of the community, and we will participate fully in the investigation into the cause of the fire.

2:40 p.m.Winston-Salem officials hold a news conference and provide an update on the progress of the fire.