Durham County

Update: Downtown Durham did not catch fire – but it might've looked like it

Durham firefighters at 217 S Holman St. Thursday morning.
Durham firefighters at 217 S Holman St. Thursday morning.

A large fire producing black and billowing smoke clouds – easily seen by passersby on the Durham Freeway – caused concerns Thursday morning that a piece of downtown Durham was aflame.

durham fire window.JPG
The smoke clouds from two burning and abandoned vehicles at 217 S. Holman St. as seen from a downtown Durham office window. Courtesy of Tom Bousquet

The fire was, in fact, not downtown.

Firefighters were dispatched to 217 S Holman St. at 10:45 a.m. Thursday and found several vehicles and a pile of debris on fire, said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Iannuzzi. The debris included burning plastics, cardboard and motors.

Iannuzzi said many people called emergency services to voice their concerns.

No structures were involved. There were no injuries.

A large plume of smoke when seen from the east created an illusion that the Durham Detention Center was on fire.

The cause is under investigation, Iannuzzi said.

Colin Warren-Hicks: 919-419-6636, @CWarrenHicks