A trifecta of hazards — water, electricity and ammonium nitrate — likely contributed to the massive Weaver Fertilizer fire

BY: - March 7, 2023

Holes gaped in the roof. Water leaked down the walls and onto the floor. Electrical fixtures routinely went on the fritz.  State documents show the extent of disrepair at the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, conditions that could have contributed to a massive ammonium nitrate fire 13 months ago. The blaze burned for a week, […]

Arsenic, benzene among contaminants found in soil, groundwater at former Weaver Fertilizer plant site

BY: - February 16, 2023

Contaminated soil and groundwater have been found at the former Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, where a devastating fire forced the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents a little over a year ago. Several soil samples contained high levels of arsenic; groundwater had elevated concentrations of several chemicals, including nitrite, nitrate, and benzene — the […]

Winston-Salem State Chancellor to step down, interim leader announced

BY: - January 9, 2023

Winston-Salem State University Chancellor Elwood Robinson announced his retirement Monday. Robinson, who has led the school for eight years, will step down at the end of the current semester. UNC System President Peter Hans appointed Anthony Graham, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Winston-Salem State, as interim chancellor effective July 1. “Chancellor Robinson […]

North Carolina communities making LGBTQ equality gains, according to annual report

BY: - December 1, 2022

North Carolina towns and cities are largely scoring higher on LGBTQ equality measures, according to a new study from The Human Rights Campaign. The national LGBTQ advocacy organization released its annual Municipal Equality Index Wednesday, scoring more than 500 cities across the country on 49 different criteria with regard to law, policies and services of […]

‘I had a panic attack,’ says Forsyth County official about air pollution from Weaver Fertilizer fire

BY: - March 10, 2022

Fertilizer chemicals also stored near other low-income neighborhoods, communities of color Thirty-six hours after a catastrophic fire broke out at the Weaver Fertilizer plant, the air in this Winston-Salem neighborhood was practically unbreathable. Levels of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5, peaked at more than 30 times the EPA’s eight-hour average.

Before the fire, Weaver Fertilizer plant was storing more than 4.5 million pounds of chemicals onsite

BY: - March 4, 2022

Before a massive blaze erupted at the Weaver Fertilizer plant in late January, it was storing more than 2,000 tons — roughly 4.5 million pounds — of chemicals every day at its facility in Winston-Salem, according to the company’s most recent chemical inventory filed with state emergency  management officials. Weaver Fertilizer didn’t submit a chemical […]

Winston-Salem fertilizer fire reveals regulatory loopholes, spurs hard questions about building and workplace safety

BY: - February 8, 2022

Owners of the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem failed to submit a required chemical inventory to the NC Department of Public Safety in 2020, a key piece of information for state and local emergency officials.  Nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents.

Before major blaze in January, electrical failure at Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem caused material to smolder on Dec. 26

BY: - February 5, 2022

A fire incident report released this morning showed that Winston-Salem firefighters and a hazardous materials team responded to a separate incident at the Weaver Fertilizer plant — on Dec. 26 — after an electrical failure caused fertilizer material to smolder. This incident occurred a month before a major ammonium nitrate blaze at the Weaver Fertilizer […]

A month before Weaver Fertilizer blaze, Winston-Salem residents reported to fire, police acrid smell coming from direction of the plant

BY: - February 4, 2022

This is a developing story. On the evening of Dec 26, 2021, more than a half dozen Winston-Salem residents who live near Harmon Avenue, about two miles from the Weaver Fertilizer plant, smelled acrid smoke — so strong and caustic that their eyes burned and they had to don face masks to comfortably breathe. Between […]

Fertilizer plant fire prompts recreational water advisory for Monarcas Creek in Winston-Salem

BY: - February 3, 2022

Water runoff from the site of a massive fire at the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem has potentially contaminated Monarcas Creek, Forsyth County officials announced today. The runoff into the creek prompted county and state officials to issue a recreational water advisory for the section of Monarcas Creek and the downstream sections of Mill Creek, and […]

Environmental hazards loom large as emergency crews work to contain massive Winston-Salem fire

BY: - February 2, 2022

After two days, the enormous fire at the Weaver Fertilizer Plant in Winston-Salem is still burning, forcing the evacuation of more than 6,000 people within a mile radius of the 80-year-old facility. Because of the risk of explosion, firefighters can't extinguish the blaze; nor can they yet determine the cause of the fire.